Shred Level Standards

Shred Level Standards

When purchasing a paper shredder for either your home or office, there is a lot to consider. Besides the obvious: the price, shredding capacity, ability to handle paper fasteners; you need to think about the security that the machine offers.

There are several types of shredders available, ranging in security:

  • Strip-cut: the most basic and least secure. Rotating knives cut paper into narrow strips
  • Cross-cut (Confetti-cut): 2 rotating drums can cut rectangular, parallelogram, or diamond-shaped pieces
  • Particle-cut: creates tiny squares or circular shapes
  • Pierce-and-tear: Rotating blades that pierce the paper and then tear it apart

International Standard for Security Levels

The previous security standard has recently been upgraded to now 7 Levels of security ( This means that depending on which Protection Class your documents fall under, you need to adhere to the qualified security standard in order to remain in compliance with regulations. The security levels dictate the width and particle size for the respective class of documents, depending on whether they are general in

ternal documents or internal documents that contain sensitive data, all the way up to documents that contain strictly confidential information. The most secure standard is approved by the NSA/CSS for top-secret document shredding.

While most professionals don’t need that level of security, any business that needs to meet FACTA requirements needs to use a shredder with a security level above 4, and some will need a security level of 6 which is for confidential information. It should be noted that HIPAA does not have a minimum required security level, but it is recommended to at least use a shredder with a security level of 3, with cross-cut as the preferred method of destruction.

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Not sure what security level shredder you should be using in your business? Give us a call at (800) 472-9716, or use the contact form on the right and we will help guide you to the solution that you need!