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Archive for June, 2017

6 Easy Ways To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

At the beginning of the month, Donald Trump withdrew the United States from The Paris Agreement, making America one of only three countries in the entire world to turn its back on the environmental action plan. It’s a decision that even Kim Jong Un, the notorious leader of North Korea, calls, “the height of egotism”.

But here at Absolute Destruction, we think there may be a silver lining to Trump’s hubris. A number of the state’s largest city mayors have published their cities’ commitment to the goals of the agreement, and Hawaii has become the first state to defy Trump’s rejection of the accord. The president’s choice has also motivated businesses and private individuals to step up where the American government has failed, resulting in innovative answers to the issue of climate change.

It’s another story here in Canada, as Parliament is fully committed to the Paris Accord. But that doesn’t mean we’re wholly unaffected by our neighbours to the south. While American politics affects Canadian policy, we should choose to let those environmentally friendly American mayors, businesses, and individuals inspire us.

Be the change that you want to be. Use this guide to cut your carbon footprint in 6 easy ways.

  1. Get Moving!

If you think nothing of hopping in the car whenever you need to get somewhere, even if it’s just around the corner, it’s time to start! Our cars are responsible for a 26% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. When you choose to walk or bike, you can help cut down on the amount of pollution you personally contribute. As an added bonus, this extra activity is a heart healthy choice.

  1. Use Our Recycling Services

Here at Absolute Destruction, we are committed to the welfare of our natural environment. That’s why we offer recycling services alongside our secure document destruction. Our recycling services include professional pickup of paper, cans, cardboard, and glass bottles. To learn more about how our eco-friendly practices has helped the GTA, check out our Environmental Savings page.

  1. Make it a Meatless Monday

Emerging studies have shown agricultural farming, much of which supports cattle farms used to raise meat, is one of the worst contributors of global greenhouse gas emissions. The UN and WHO suggest we try to limit the amount of red meat we eat in order to help reduce its effects, so try introducing vegetarian meals into your weekly diet.

  1. Support Local

You’ve heard this before. In fact, we’re huge proponents of this shopping method, as we’re one of the local shredding services in the GTA! When you buy groceries, household wares, and clothes produced locally, you’re cutting out the greenhouse gas emissions created in hauling these items on our country’s highways. As a result, your shopping trip won’t have such a high environmental price tag. Luckily, we’re approaching farmer’s market season, so this should be easy to do!

  1. Use Your Water Wisely

Summer is approaching, which means those readers who have green thumbs have already started plotting their gardens. Be wary of how much water you use to water your plants and consider investing in an irrigation system so that they only ever get as much water as they need. Though it’s tempting to water your babies, don’t pull out the hose if your city has called a water ban.

  1. Insulate Your Home

Draughts and air leaks can force your air conditioner and furnace to work harder than they have to in order to maintain the temps in your home. Seal these openings using weather stripping, caulking, or insulation to make sure the air stays where it should be, so you don’t have to use as much energy for your home.

If you want to shave down the size of your carbon footprint, this guide is a good way to start. Give us a call if you have any tips to share or if you’re ready tick of #2 from this list. We’ll send

Add comment June 30th, 2017

In The News: Bell Exposes Millions in Large Scale Breach

Last month, we explored the story of a local woman who realized she was a victim of identity theft after receiving an unusual ETR bill. The Absolute Destruction headquarters, located in Aurora, is only a stone’s throw away from Vaughan where the crime took place. It’s the first time we examined an incident that was so close to home.

We think it’s important that we investigate local cases of identity theft, to show that it isn’t just a subject of Hollywood films. Identity theft is a real danger to anyone who doesn’t protect their personal information properly.

That’s why we’re starting our second installment of our semi-regular feature, In the News, in which we look at a Canadian telecomm company that failed to shield its customers from a cyberattack — many of whom live in the GTA. Last month, Bell was the victim of an online hack that exposed the personal emails of roughly 1.9 million people and the contact information of 1,700 individuals.

The anonymous hackers posted a note that promised to leak more information should Bell fail to give into their demands. What those demands were are still protected by the ungoing investigation, but it’s likely the criminals were asking for a ransom. Remember, from our post on Ransomware back in May of 2016, that paying these demands rarely works to the victim’s advantage.

Though millions of people were affected in the attack, Bell maintains there was “minimal risk involved” with the breach, and they are still working with law enforcement and the government to ensure the safety of their customers.

We’ll be hearing about breaches more often in the future because of the way companies must now handle these leaks — not because we suspect the threat of hackers has multiplied in any way. Under the guidance of the Canadian Securities Administrators, the federal government is making changes to the country’s privacy laws.

In the past, some cyberattacks were never reported, as there were no legal regulations requiring companies to share this information. The latest changes require companies to disclose more information about every single data breach that results in exposing Canadians’ personal information. These modifications dictate companies also divulge any risk they think may result in another cyberattack sometime in the future.

As a result, more Canadians than ever before will be notified their personal information has been leaked. While these reports will be alarming to those affected, those responsible for these privacy laws hope their work will ultimately lead to greater transparency regarding security.

It only makes sense in terms of marketing. If a company is forced to share every data breach and internal weakness that could lead to more in the future, they’ll want to demonstrate to their customers the way they use their information and how they hope to protect it.

In addition to firewalls, network antivirus, and server security, hiring our commercial shredding services is an essential way to eliminate the threat of identity theft. While firewalls and server securities will protect current information your business needs to store, our document destruction and electronic data destruction ensures obsolete paper and digital files can no longer expose customer information or company intellectual property.

If you’re one of the many business owners that call the GTA home, get in touch with our team. We’ll arrange a convenient shredding schedule customized to your needs, so you can protect your company from local threats of identity theft.

Add comment June 26th, 2017

Click Before You Think: A Look At The Latest Google Phishing Scam

Blog post after blog post, we always come back to the same piece of advice: only click on an attachment if it’s from a trusted source. Usually it’s a good rule of thumb that can protect you from the majority of phishing scams, but the crew at Absolute Destruction is prepared to eat our words. Sometimes, even seemingly trusted sources can send you bogus attachments.

Last month Google was at the heart of an insidious phishing scam that was aimed at its Google Doc users. It sent out an alarmingly realistic email to users asking permission to manage their email and contacts. If you clicked allow, it would have access to everything within your email accounts and your contact list, which it would then use to send out similar emails to your friends and family.

It worked so well because it sent you a Google-hosted page that listed all of your Google accounts, making it seem like a legit request from the tech company. The scam also bought the rights to a third-party app called Google Docs, further legitimizing the scam. Most people didn’t realize there is no such thing as Google Docs app. The real application is built-in to your Google account and has access to your email by default.

Though Google was quick to neutralize this threat, the scam managed to work on roughly 1 million users. Despite the large number, it seems like the tech giant dodged a bullet. Their investigations revealed the scam managed to access only contact information and no other personal data was exposed.

It was a near miss, but it provides a great lesson to all of us. While it’s easy to dismiss emails from unusual sources, with suspect titles and strange attachments, it’s not as simple to identify sophisticated scams that copy the look and writing style of trusted accounts.

Just as phishing scams are evolving, our approach to these cons needs to change along with them. In this latest case, critical thinking was the key to avoiding becoming a victim. Google Docs already has permission to see your emails and the documents you send through it, so it would never need to send this email in the first place.

This method is certainly a lot harder to lock down, and it will take practice.

It’s certainly much more difficult than scheduling our secure electronic data destruction services. Though easier to arrange, our data destruction is an essential step towards digital security, as it eliminates the physical theft of your data once you throw away obsolete devices. Once your computers, phones, or hard drives pass through the teeth of our mobile shredding truck’s blade, there’s no way to retrieve financial files or personal information stored on their chips.

To protect yourself even further, check out the top guides outlining how you can avoid phishing. Experts like WIRED and Norton Anti-Virus provide are a good place to start, so you can protect yourself against sophisticated phishing scam.

We’ll wait as you study up. Once you’re ready, give us a call to schedule your first pick up, and you’ll be one step ahead of the game.

Add comment June 22nd, 2017

Why GDPR Are Four Letters Businesses Need To Know

Back in September of 2015, our blog took a look at the various privacy laws in countries around the world. Along with the US and UK, the crew at Absolute Destruction reviewed European privacy policies as it compared to Canadian legislation. For any archive jumpers (or for those with great memories) we have an announcement to make. This past April, the European Union has passed a landmark privacy bill in the General Data Protection Regulation, and it will effectively replace Directive 95 as of this time next year — which means, as of May 2018, everything within that article regarding Europe’s current laws will be outdated.

To remind our regular readers, Directive 95 is the colloquial term for the Data Protection Directive or Directive 95/46/EC. Since 1995, the directive regulated the way personal information of European citizens could be collected, shared, and discarded. It was a head of its time, as it protected European’s personal data online when the Internet was in its infancy. Times have changed drastically, as has digital storage capabilities, which is why the EU has drafted a new and improved directive.

GDPR or Regulation (EU) 2016/679 will strengthen what was established in 1995, and it will roll out new enforcement measures for those who fail to comply. Should a company fail to protect personal information according to GDPR terms, they could be charged as much as 4% of their revenue as punishment. Continue reading here to get an in-depth review of the proposed changes.

Though the GDPR protects European citizens, it’s a bill that holds significance for business owners here in the GTA. Its regulations apply to any company that collects or stores information from EU citizens. Like Canada’s PIPEDA, you must follow GPDR if you’re a multi-national organization that deals with European customers or you will face the consequence outlined above.

The regulation may be a European law, but you can ensure your business practices abide by it through local means. As your resident shredding service in the GTA, we can help. We’re NAID-certified, so our fully bonded document destruction crew can guarantee our commercial shredding services follow the letter of the law — wherever it hails. In addition to adhering to the latest disposal techniques set out by the National Association for Information Destruction, we strive to meet the appropriate measures set out by the federal and provincial government’s privacy laws.

We like to be prepared, so we’re already gearing up for upcoming regulation, so we can ensure our multi-national clients are compliant with the GDPR once it comes into effect in May 2018. Until then, it will be business as usual as we provide secure, dependable shredding services that abide by necessary disposal regulations.

To make sure your small business or multi-national organization is compliant with every law, give us a call and schedule an appointment. With a variety of options that accommodate a wide arrange of digital and paper document outputs, we can help any company in the GTA confirm compliancy with laws local and abroad.

Add comment June 6th, 2017

The True Costs Of In-House Shredding

Time and time again, the team at Absolute Destruction are asked why a business would outsource their shredding to a company like us when they could do in-house shredding for free. Well, free is the operative word. Having your employees shred large quantities of paper isn’t as economical as you think. Keep reading to see our general breakdown of the costs you can expect from shredding in-house.

The Cost of Buying & Maintaining an Office Shredding

First up is purchasing your office’s shredder. While it may seem favourable to buy a machine outright over the monthly invoices you would receive from our crew, it’s not so simple. Sure, you have to buy the machine itself, which can cost you anywhere between $700 and $10,000 depending on its size and power output. But then you have to factor in its depreciation and maintenance.

It’s a running gag that shredders (as well as printers) will jam with just a scrap of paper. Unless the issues causing the backup are obvious, you’ll have to call in and pay for a repair service to unclog your machine. If not, you’ll have to replace it altogether.

The Cost of Employees Shredding Their Own Documents

Secondly, you’ll have to think about all of the time your employees will spend on shredding. It’s time intensive to prepare documents so that they’re ready for the shredder, as most commercial shredders won’t go through staples or large stacks of papers. Your employees will be wasting time taking out staples and portioning their mountain of paper into easily shredded rations.

You also run the risk of shredding poorly. Most commercial shredders sold to offices only use the strip-cut technique — which means the blades merely cut the paper into strips. This technique leaves the information you’ve shredded at risk, as it’s incredibly easy to piece these strips back together.

The Cost of Non-Compliance

Our second point ties into the third. Human error can set your business up for failure. Employee negligence (whether through ignorance or malice) can expose confidential information — either paper that should be shredded gets tossed with the regular garbage or the individual tasked with emptying the machine simply leaves the refuse in the recycling bin. The latter scenario wouldn’t be such a problem if it weren’t for the fact that strip-cut shredders fail to destroy documents thoroughly enough.

The PIPEDA (Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act) necessitates businesses take the appropriate steps to prevent exposure of customer data. If you fail to do so, even because it’s due to an employee’s mistake, your company will face significant fines, as well as probable public backlash as news of your leak hits the web.

Avoiding these costs is simple: just schedule our on-site commercial shredding services. It eliminates the need to buy and maintain your own equipment and pay for the time it takes your employees to use. Our NAID-certified practices also ensure your office is always compliant with all laws regarding the destruction of personal information.

If you’d like to see how our prices compare to running an in-house shredding operation, speak with our representatives. We can explain the benefits of mobile shredding services and arrange a pick-up schedule that’s convenient for your business.

Add comment June 5th, 2017


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