Rutland Herald Spotlights SecurShred

February 23 , 2004 in SecurShred in the News

With identity theft costing consumers billions of dollars each year, one company in Vermont is helping businesses safely destroy the financial, health, and personnel records of their customers, patients and employees.

On-Site SecurShred is a 4-year-old South Burlington firm that bills itself as the only certified company in the state that provides on-site destruction of both paper and electronic documents.

According to the company’s David Van Mullen, On-Site SecurShred supplies its customers with locked containers for discarding documents with the documents destroyed on a scheduled basis at the customer’s location using specially-equipped shredding trucks.

Van Mullen said each truck is equipped with a video camera to document that the material has been destroyed. A certificate of destruction is then issued to the client and the shredded material is hauled away to be recycled.

In addition to paper documents, SecurShred is also capable of destroying computer disks, compact discs, film, and video cassettes.

Van Mullen said SecurShred’s clients are statewide and include health care agencies, banks, stock brokers, insurance agencies, car dealers, manufacturers, and state and federal government agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security and the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

One client, General Dynamics, has 20 to 30 locked document containers scattered throughout its Burlington facility, Van Mullen said. Containers come in 300-, 250- and 85-pound capacities.

He said all the company’s employees go through a thorough background check and the company itself is the only one in Vermont certified by the National Association of Information Destruction.

“It’s something that you find throughout most of the major cities in the United States and Canada, but in Vermont there wasn’t anything like it,” said Van Mullen, the company’s vice president of sales and marketing.

While a document destruction company may be unique in Vermont, it’s a growing business and coincides with the increase in identity thefts.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, nearly 10 million people were victims of identity left in the past fiscal year, losing nearly $53 billion to the thieves.

Founded by Burlington-area businessmen Eric Flegenheimer and Ken Miller, SecurShred and similar companies received a boost with the passage of two federal laws.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act both mandated proper disposal of client records. The former covers medical records while the latter covers financial records.

“People are accountable for that information and they have to make sure it’s either securely stored or securely destroyed,” Van Mullen said.

Closer to home, Van Mullen pointed out that Vermont is one of only a few states that doesn’t have an identity theft law.

One state bill (S.174), introduced this year by Sen. John Campbell, D-Windsor, would mandate that all businesses properly dispose of customer records that contain personal information, such as credit card information and Social Security numbers.

Another Vermont bill (H.327) that deals strictly with identity theft passed the House last year _and is now waiting action by the Senate.

Although Van Mullen declined to discuss SecurShred’s charges, a company brochure boasts that it’s more cost-effective for companies to contract the work.

SecurShred says in its brochure that its on-site service will save a company at least 25 percent when compared to having an employee do the work.

For example, if it takes a $12-an-hour employee 20 minutes a day to shred four pounds of documents, that amounts to $84 a month, according to the brochure.

The same volume done by SecurShred would cost $49 a month, saving more than 40 percent.

One business that has found the service useful is the Rutland Area Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice. RAVNAH spokeswoman Laura Driscoll said SecurShred was hired last year to comply with HIPAA privacy rules for patient-related information.

In RAVNAH’s case, Driscoll said duplicate patient forms are destroyed when no longer needed. Previously, RAVNAH destroyed its own records, but Driscoll said it made more sense and was more cost-efficient to hire out the work.