Strip Cut Vs Cross Cut Vs Micro Cut
Selecting the right paper shredder is simply determined by the level of privacy and security that your business needs. Document shredding can be useful in clearing up the paper around the office, however the primary purpose is to destroy sensitive information. There's a shredder for every purpose: from low security strip cut shredders to high security government shredders.
A Strip Cut Shredder cuts the the paper in one direction forming long strips, and is ideal for low security documents. Cross Cut Shredders cut the paper by lengthways and widthways, resulting in a finer particles and a higher level of security. Government departments utilise High Security Shredders that can be A class or B Class depending on how many particles they turn a single sheet into.
Strip Cut Shredders
Strip Cut Shredders are the most basic type of shredder and are recommended for general use and low security application. The sheet of paper is cut into single, long strips that generally range from 2mm to 6mm wide. Strip Cut Shredders are commonly used in the home office or for shredding everyday documents. Strip Cut Shredders are generally faster and come at a lower price point than Cross Cut Shredders.
Cross Cut Shredders
Cross Cut Shredders cut the document in two directions and result in a smaller particle size. Cross Cut Shredders turn a single sheet into 300 to 900 pieces depending on the shredder. This makes the shredded document harder to read or piece back together and therefore are offer higher security than Strip Cut Shredders. Another advantage is that the waste is more compact, allowing the user to shred more sheets than the Strip Cut option.
High Security Shredders
High Security Shredders are applicable for use in government departments. The United States' Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency are types of department that utilise high security shredders. High security shredders are in use by all levels of the Australian Government from Immigration to Defence! The best Government Shredders in Australia are NATA Accredited and SCEC Endorsed.
A government shredder comes in two security levels: Class A and Class B. An A Class government shredder guarantees a higher security level than a B Class government shredder. The security level is determined by the number of particles a sheet is turned into; some high security shredders can turn a single page into 15,000 particles or more! The following information addresses security levels:
DIN Standard Security Levels
The DIN number is a world recognised security level that measures information security for tangible information mediums like paper. The DIN Standard (DIN 32757-1) is a European model that ranges over 6 security levels, with level 1 being the lowest and level 7 being the highest security level.
Security Levels 1- 2 (Strip Cut)Security Levels 1- 2 (Strip Cut) are the lowest levels for a shredder. Information is not destroyed thoroughly enough to ensure the document cannot be pieced back together. Most strip cut shredders operate at these security levels and turn an A4 into an average of 40 strips. Shredders in level 1-2 are recommended for material that is not confidential.
Security Levels 3 - 4 (Cross Cut & Micro Cut)
Security levels 3 (Cross Cut) and 4 (Micro Cut) are the industry standard for destroying most types of critical information in the workplace. Most cross cut and micro cut shredders operate at these levels and slice the document in multiple directions. This results in small enough particles to render most information unrecognisable. This security level is generally sufficient for Human Resources, Accounting, Finance and Legal departments. Even the most skilled and determined criminal would struggle to reconstruct these documents.
Security Levels 5 - 6 (Super Micro Cut)
DIN Standard Security levels 5 - 6 are super micro cut and disintegrate information into thousands of individual particles. The use of these shredders is compulsory for Federal Government, Defence and Intelligence agencies for all world governments, including Australia.
Security Level 7 (High Security)
The high security information is categorised from: Restricted, Confidential, Secret, Top Secret, Protected, Highly Protected and Classified material. Security level 7 shredders are designed to destroy up to Classified data. These shredders pulverise the document so that even a single character in low font cannot be recognised. This all but ensures that the information cannot be pieced back together and is protected from forensic recovery.
Security Construction and Equipment Committee (SCEC)
The SCEC is an Australian Government committee that is responsible for testing, evaluation and endorsement of physical security equipment, specifically for use by the Australian Government in its various agencies and departments. SCEC endorsed equipment are those deemed to be appropriate for use by the Australian Government and meet their security requirements.
The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO)
The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Is responsible for protection of Australia and its citizens from foreign interference, espionage, sabotage and terrorism. It provides guidelines and ratings for security equipment used by government departments (ASIO T4). ASIO-T4 provides protective security advice to Australian Government departments, owners of critical infrastructure, agencies and business enterprises.
National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA)
NATA stands for The National Association of Testing Authorities (Australia). NATA provides accreditation services to inspection bodies and testing programs. It offers traditional and specialised testing programs in areas such as medical and veterinary testing, medical imaging, forensic science, reference material production and proficiency testing.
Some Shredders have a maximum use time before needed a break. Others a specifically designed for 24 Continuous Duty and can be used non-stop. The type of duty cycle you opt for should depend on how heavy the use will be.
Other Types of Physical Security Equipment:
A Degausser works by wiping the electromagnetic field (data) from the chosen media. The degaussing process exposes the media to a powerful magnetic field that erases or neutralises all information stored on that device. Degaussing can be used to erase computer hard drives, disk media, tapes, cartridges, cassettes, USB drives etc. Drives that have been degaussed are then disposed of: they are not able to be r-used again.
Optical Shredders are different from Degaussers in that they don't erase the electromagnetic data: they physically destroy the entire media. Shredders like the Kobra 400 HS-Combi come with a separate feed for optical media and shred it much like a paper document.