Saturday, May 06, 2006

Outsourcing Data Destruction

Data processing, archiving and management is yet another lucrative outsourcing industry. Abstracting, indexing and storing of information all require professional and expert handling, which some offshore companies provide. Most of these companies are also large firms, employing hundreds of people for specialized work.

But while you could trust offshore companies to handle data storage and protection, would you trust them with the task of data destruction? We’re talking shredding and disposing of erroneous or outdated paper documents, which may otherwise include sensitive information. Is there a difference in risk? Would there in fact be more damaging information in documents set to be destroyed, than documents that are just waiting for be filed and classified?

Note that sometimes, sensitive files are encrypted onshore, then just sent offshore for remote storage.

Many companies already do their data destruction work in-house. Arguably this is not any safer than sending it offshore, since even within a company there could be malicious employees who are more aware of the potential value of the sensitive data that is about to be destroyed.

Security is also an issue in sending important papers offshore. Using a secure freight service for deliveries is a given, but a shipment could still be intercepted on its way to the target offshore firm.

But if security is not such a risk, as in the documents that are set to be destroyed do not contain important information after all, perhaps more offshore firms (even the ones that already handle data processing and management) would want to invest in offering data destruction services. It might save onshore firms, especially large corporations, much extra spending and valuable man hours to contract data elimination services in low-cost locations.
For details read here