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Best Practices for Destruction of Student Data

Protect Student Privacy, Remain Compliant with FERPA

As an institution or agency in the education industry, you need to comply with numerous laws regarding the management of confidential or sensitive data or information. Essentially, the focus is on secure preservation and permanent destruction of Personally Identifiable Information (PII), financial or medical records, and assessments or progress reports of the students, staff, and faculty. For instance, 

  • Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA): Protects student privacy and requires secure storage and disposal of the Personally Identifiable Information (PII) from the students’ education records. 
  • Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA): Governs the manner in which schools, higher education institutions and allied service providers collect, use, or safeguard confidential data related to the students or faculty.

Besides the above federal laws, there may be several other state or local regulations governing your establishment. 

At TITAN Mobile Shredding, we understand how critical it is for you to remain compliant with all the applicable laws. As specialists in industry-specific shredding solutions, we are well-versed with the record management requirements in the education sector, and stay abreast of any changes in the regulations and guidelines. Our experienced and trained professionals suggest some best practices for the safe disposal of student data records.

Key Data Destruction Protocols for the Education Sector

FERPA, FACTA, or other privacy laws do not spell out the method for storage or destruction of physical and digital records. You may have to choose a suitable solution, based on the sensitivity of the data and the potential impact of unauthorized access or disclosure. Using a full-service professional shredding company will help in safely getting rid of your paper records, as well as hard drives and other digital media.

Here are some other best practices to consider:

  • Set Up Formal Document Destruction Policies and Processes 
    • Define fixed timelines for shredding all obsolete physical records pertaining to students. Unauthorized access or misuse of student PII can lead to expensive legal issues. You could also potentially lose the federal funding from FERPA due to noncompliance.
    • Save money and space on records storage and free up valuable real estate by scanning and converting physical records into electronic data.  Hire a trusted paper shredding company for the subsequent safe disposal of the physical files and documents.
  • Ensure Robust Electronic Data Destruction Processes: For PII that is in electronic format, avoid using file deletion, one-way encryption, or disk formatting. Deleting data from the hard drives is not the most permanent way for data destruction. Instead, set up specific types of disposal methods, based on the nature of the data or information. For example, train and sensitize your staff on hard drive degaussing versus hard drive destruction, and which one to use when.
  • Create Accountability for Secure Destruction
    • Student information and records may have several access points. Make the internal staff, as well as relevant third parties accountable for secure destruction of any student PII that they no longer need for the specific purpose that it was acquired. 
    • In the written agreements with your third parties, include relevant safe disposal clauses and set up mechanisms that provide proof of destruction by the responsible individuals.

At TITAN Mobile Shredding, we offer routine on-site services, annual on-site purges, as well as off-site services for safe disposal of confidential physical and digital records. We also provide secure and permanent destruction of hard drives and other media such as DVDs, CDs, tapes, and thumb drives. As a NAID AAA Certified company, we ensure the highest standards of security and compliance with legislative matters pertaining to the education industry. 

To learn more about the complete range of services by TITAN Mobile, speak to one of our data destruction specialists. Call us at (866) 848-2699 or contact us online

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