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What is a certificate of destruction?

Updated on 14 December 2023

You have decided to have your sensitive data destroyed, whether it is hard drives, paper documents, or electronic media, you want to make sure it is done properly. You find a local company who have a service that meets your needs, they takeaway your documents and hard drives. Now what? How do you know your data has been destroyed, who is responsible for it, and what happens if something goes wrong? This why you need a certificate of destruction.

Quick, easy, no commitment!

The process of having your data destroyed is not as simple as just throwing it away. In order to ensure that your data has been properly destroyed, you need a certificate of destruction. It is an important legal document that proves that your data has been irretrievably destroyed.

What is a certificate of destruction?
A certificate of destruction is a legal document that outlines what has been destroyed, when it was destroyed, how it was destroyed, and who is responsible for the destroyed data. It should be signed by an authorised representative of the company who carried out the destruction.

How do I know if I need a certificate of destruction?

There are a few key indicators that show you may need a certificate. Firstly, if you have sensitive or regulated data, one is likely required in order to ensure this data is properly disposed of. Secondly, many companies have internal policies that require the use of certificates of destruction for all disposed materials. Finally, some jurisdictions have laws or regulations, such as UK GDPR or CCPA that require the use of certificates of destruction.

Moorepay logo Cutting edge payroll software
  • Powerful and easy to use
  • HMRC & RTI compliant
  • Used by payroll pros
Pipedrive logo The CRM platform to grow your business
  • Great for entrepreneurs
  • Powerful data analytics
  • Manage sales and data
Wix logo Powerful web builder and advanced business tools
  • Great for startups
  • Powerful web page builder
  • E-commerce available
Planable logo Supercharged content planning
  • Great for marketing
  • Better than lists or sheets
  • Manage social media
Webador logo Create a new website in 10 minutes. Easy.
  • Launch your website fast
  • Powerful data intuitive
  • No coding skills needed

If you are unsure whether or not you need one, it is always best to err on the side of caution and go ahead with obtaining one. After all, a certificate provides an extra level of assurance that your data has been properly disposed of.

Are certificates of destruction only issued for paper documents?

No, certificates of destruction can be issued for any type of data, including electronic data. In fact, many companies are now moving towards an electronic certificate of destruction systems in order to better track and manage their data disposal processes.

Here is a list of data that requires a certificate:

  • Personally identifiable information (PII)
  • Information protected by privacy laws
  • Corporate trade secrets
  • Financial details
  • Information that can be easily overlooked (e.g. boarding passes, shipping labels, photos, etc.)
  • Digital information (e.g. hard drives)

Why is a certificate of destruction important?

There are many reasons why one is important.

  1. It provides evidence that you have taken the necessary steps to dispose of your data in a secure and compliant manner
  2. They can help to prevent data breaches
  3. It also shows you are being compliant with laws and regulations
  4. A certificate shows you are no longer responsible for the data, and it protects you from future liabilities
  5. They provide peace of mind by ensuring that your data has been properly destroyed

What is included on a certificate of destruction?

It should include the following information:

  • The name and contact details of the company that provided the service
  • The date the certificate was issued
  • The name and contact details of the customer
  • A description of the material destroyed
  • Reference to the terms and conditions of the agreement
  • The method of destruction used eg shredding or degaussing
  • The date the material was destroyed
  • The signature of an authorised representative from the company that provided the service

Conclusion

A certificate of destruction is an important document that provides evidence that data has been properly disposed of. It is important to obtain one when disposing of sensitive or regulated data, when required by company policy, or when required by law or regulation. Always make sure the company you are dealing with issues a certificate that includes all of the required information.

FAQ

What is a certificate of destruction?

It is an important document that provides evidence that data has been properly disposed of. It is important to obtain one when disposing of sensitive or regulated data, when required by company policy, or when required by law or regulation. Always make sure the company you are dealing with issues a certificate that includes all of the required information.

What is included on a certificate of destruction?

It should include the following information:
The name and contact details of the company that provided the certificate of destruction
The date the certificate was issued
The name and contact details of the customer
A description of the material destroyed
The method of destruction used
The date the material was destroyed
The signature of an authorised representative from the company that provided the certificate of destruction

Why is a certificate of destruction important?

There are many reasons why a certificate of destruction is important. Firstly, it provides evidence that you have taken the necessary steps to dispose of your data in a secure and compliant manner. Secondly, it can help to prevent data breaches by ensuring that sensitive information is properly disposed of. It also shows you are being compliant with laws and regulations. It shows you are no longer responsible for the data, and it protects you from future liabilities. Finally, it provides peace of mind by ensuring that your data has been properly destroyed.

What should I do if I don’t have a certificate of destruction?

If you don’t have one you should contact the company that provided the destruction services and request one. Make sure to obtain a certificate of destruction that includes all of the required information.

Can I get a certificate of destruction for my paper records?

Yes, you can get one for your paper records.

Can I get a certificate of destruction for my electronic data?

Yes, you can get one for your electronic data.

What if I lose my certificate of destruction?

If you lose your certificate of destruction, you should contact the company that provided the it and request a new one.

Reviewed by , Managing Director

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