What is a high security paper shredder? Do I need one?

A high security paper shredder is a shredder that meets the latest NSA/CSS specification for high security paper destruction. The current specification is 02-01 and calls for the particle size not to exceed 1mm x 5mm. All NSA/CSS high security paper shredders that have been tested and proven to meet the NSA/CSS specification 02-01 are listed on the Evaluated Products List.

Your security officer can advise you on your specific requirements. However, if you know you are destroying security level 6 documents then you would need one of the shredders listed on the NSA/CSS Evaluated Products List (EPL).

To put it simply, the purpose of a paper shredder is security. Sure there are a few people out there who use residue for fertilizer, and I’ve sold more than one shredder to produce animal bedding, but the vast majority of paper shredders only have one purpose. To make physical documents unrecoverable. Often times though I¬†have individuals and businesses contact me looking for a “high security shredder” because they want to eliminate sensitive documents. But unless you are the federal government, or a contractor for them, then a crosscut is all you need to reach that level of security.

High security shredders have reduced sheet capacity and require more oiling than more traditional cut sizes. They are also much more expensive than their crosscut counterparts. If you aren’t legally required to meet a high security information destruction requirement due to working with classified information – don’t try. But what is considered high security?

The National Security Agency sets the standards for information destruction. There are several of them but specification 02-01 covers paper destruction, and 04-02 covers optical media (CD/DVD) destruction. All government agencies and contractors must have a method for destroying classified, secret, or top secret information that meets the NSA¬†regulation. The Datastroyer shredder lineup from Whitaker Brothers is officially recognized by the National Security Agency as meeting or exceeding these requirements. We have called these our “MicroShred” or MS models. For shredding a CD or DVD you can look at the Datastroyer 101-CD or Datastroyer 103-DVD.

If you’re doing sensitive work for the government, don’t risk your own security. The government constantly audits those who do work for it and being caught with insufficient data destruction capacity can halt productivity for days. Being unable to account for classified information, or having a breach traced back to your company, can result in very serious investigations and forfeiture of government contracts.

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