7 Documents You Commonly Forget to Shred

North Dakota and South Dakota businesses are well aware of the need to shred documents containing confidential consumer data, financial information, and other highly sensitive records protected by law.  As a rule of thumb, adopting a shred-all policy is best, but just in case, here are a few items your business should shred if you’re not already.

Junk Mail

Individuals and businesses alike receive plenty of junk mail, and you might just toss it in the trash without a second thought.  However, it’s always best to simply add it to the shred pile to ensure trash thieves can’t get their hands on any identifying information this mail might contain.

Travel Documents

When employees travel for work, you should always advise them to place any travel documents in your in-office bins for shredding, including itineraries, boarding passes, and any documents not required for reimbursement of travel expenses.  This will help to protect their confidential information, and potentially their personal affairs.

Personnel Records

While it’s true that you have to retain employee records including job applications for a period of time, you don’t necessarily need to retain them indefinitely.  However, you also can’t throw away anything containing confidential employee data.  Instead of simply allowing these documents to continue taking up space, be sure to shred them on a regular schedule, in keeping with state regulations.

Vendor Records

Working with vendors can generate all kinds of paperwork, from contracts and job requests, to invoices, instructions, and more.  Some of these should be retained for your tax filing, but eventually, any documents containing vendor information should be shredded.

Business Planning Documents

Unless you want competitors getting their hands on information about the inner workings of your company, it’s always wise to shred business documents, from presentations, to internal planning documents and reports, to business proposals, forecasts, and so on.  Even if documents don’t contain data that could be used for identity theft or data breach, they do contain a roadmap for your operations, which could theoretically be used to gain a competitive edge.

R&D Documents

It’s normal for companies to engage in competitive analysis and market research to gain insights into their industry and hone strategies to compete.  Many companies also conduct R&D activities during the course of product development.

In both cases, documents related to research and development should be shredded, not only to avoid letting competitors find out about potential future plans, but to keep them from learning your methods of conducting research.  If competitors know how you operate, they could use it to counteract your efforts in any number of ways.

Training Manuals

The way you train employees isn’t exactly a state secret, but it would be valuable information for your competitors, as they could either steal your methodologies or use your training regimen to create something for their own employees, potentially using the information as a bargaining chip to poach your employees or as a way to attract job candidates you might be interested in.

If you have a backlog of records you’re looking to shred or you’re interested in scheduling regular mobile shredding service, contact the qualified professionals at SEAM today at 605-274-7326 (SEAM) or online to request a quote.


SEAM provides IT recycling and data destruction services including onsite shredding and hard drive wiping to South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska.

Schedule a pickup or contact us for more information.