Understanding shredder security levels is important for keeping your information safe and meeting certain industry compliance requirements. This beginner's guide will teach you everything you need to know so you can choose the right shredder for your needs.
There are multiple different shredder security levels, and it all comes down to how small the pieces are cut.
For example, a level one shredder may cut documents into large strips whereas a level seven shredder will gride the paper down so it's barely more than dust.
But there are a few different security levels you should look at before deciding which shredder is right for you.
Take a look at this shredder security guide.
Different Type of Shredder Cuts
Most shredders either have a strip cut, a cross cut, or a particle cut. These cuts are what makes one shredder more or less secure than another.
The most basic shredders use a strip cut, a more heavy-duty shredder would use a crosscut, and the most secure shredders of all use a particle cut.
Let's look at what each of these cuts means.
Strip Cut: A strip cut simple chops paper into strips (the size of these strips can be anywhere from 2mm to 12mm). This cut can be found in entry-level shredders, and they are used for documents that don't need very much protection.
This type of shredder covers security levels number one and two.
Cross Cut: These shredders are also called confetti cut shredders because of how small they chop documents (the size of these pieces are normally about 5mm x 1mm). Though this shredder takes longer than a strip cut shredder, it will make whatever you put inside unrecognizable.
This type of shredder covers security levels number three, four, and five.
Particle Cut: This shredder cuts documents into such small pieces they come out looking more like dust than paper. It is by far the best shredder for destroying important documents so they are unrecoverable.
This type of shredder covers security levels number six and seven.
The Three Protection Levels
There are seven shredder security levels (which we will look at in a moment), and each of these security levels is categorized under a protection level.
Protection one = security levels one, two, and three.
Protection two = security levels three, four, and five.
Protection three = security levels five, six, and seven.
You should use protection level one should for documents that don't require very much security. You should use protection level two for high-security documents with confidential information. You should use protection level three for documents that need extremely high security with secret information.
The Seven Shredder Security Levels
These levels are what will help you decide which type of shredder you need to keep your information safe.
Level One: use for disposing of unimportant, general information.
Level Two: use for internal information (photocopies, notes, invoices, etc.).
Level Three: use for personal information and other confidential papers.
Level Four: use for sensitive documents.
Level Five: use for secret information about your business.
Level Six: use for information that is extremely secret (such as government or military documents).
Level Seven: use for the most sensitive, secret, important documents out there.
What Is the Right Shredder for Me?
These shredder security levels will help you pick the right shredder for the protection you need. Your business will probably be securely protected with anything above a level three.
Ready to get a shredder for your business? Take a look at some of our options.