Shredder Security Levels: What Your Business Needs to Know

Feb 21, 2023

Did you know that not all document shredding methods are the same? There are a variety of different shredder security levels suited for different applications. The level you need will vary depending on the nature of your business and the specific documents you’re looking to destroy.

Level P-1 Paper Shredding

Level P-1 shredding is a basic disposal protocol for documents that aren’t a security concern. Documents that don’t contain specific privacy or financial information don’t typically require additional security measures, but it’s still a good idea to put caution first and shred all documents.

Level P-2 Paper Shredding

Level P-2 shredding involves cutting smaller strips, making information less accessible if the individual pieces are recovered. Many businesses opt for more thorough shredding simply out of caution, as it prevents any potentially overlooked sensitive information from being easily legible if the documents are pieced back together.

Level P-3 Paper Shredding

Level P-3 is the highest security standard for strip-cut shredders, which cut documents vertically. It uses the smallest strip size to provide additional protection, and it’s a fast and efficient method of document disposal. No one who comes into possession of P-3 shredded documents will be able to reconstruct them in an effort to glean the information they contain.

Level P-4 Paper Shredding

Level P-4 introduces cross-cutting, an advanced protective measure commonly used by organizations with strict security measures. Generally, you only see this kind of protection if mandatory security regulations call for it, as is the case with various government agencies.

Level P-5 Paper Shredding

Level P-5 is another cross-cut security standard that further improves security by reducing the size of the final pieces. More careful shredding increases document destruction time, but it also reduces the total area of each piece. As such, no meaningful information can be derived from having access to the shredded documents.

Level P-6 Paper Shredding

Level P-6 is one of the highest document destruction security standards. It includes cross-cutting and reducing particles to extremely small sizes. Like the previous cross-cut levels, shredding is slow and somewhat inconvenient. However, the particles produced by P-6 shredding are minuscule and unlikely to contain any useful information.

Level P-7  Paper Shredding

Level P-7 shredding is the highest security standard. It’s used internally by the NSA, an agency well-known for its tight security protocols. P-7 shredding involves making cross-cuts that reduce particles to incredibly small sizes. It’s a time-consuming process, but one that’s required to meet rigorous security and privacy standards.

Get the Right Shredding for Your Needs

Most of the standards outlined here are geared toward government use. As a business, you should implement proper document security practices. However, measures like cross-cutting are often excessive and impractical. So which standard is right for your business?

The best way to guarantee proper security is to leave document destruction to the experts.

Secure Enterprise Asset Management (SEAM) is your source for secure document shredding in South Dakota and North Dakota. We provide secure pickup and offsite shredding, as well as on-site mobile shredding.

Contact us today for more information on how we can serve your business.

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.