Good Destructive Behavior

Demolition site on Washington Street with the Ziskind Laboratory in the background, December 1968

In the course of doing our work at Tufts, we create or receive a lot of records in paper and electronic form. Many of these records are drafts, copies, or other records that we will need to dispose of at some point. (See the general Records Retention Schedule for rules on how long to keep records and when to destroy them and which records to transfer to the DCA for enduring preservation.) A lot of records we handle at Tufts has confidential or sensitive information that we need to protect. So when we need to get rid of these records we should't just throw them away in the recycling bin or just leave them on thumb drives or computers that we later throw or give away. This exposes the University to the unnecessary risk of a data breach.

We should all take care to destroy these records confidentially. Fortunately, Tufts has a new set guidelines that explain the best way to destroy records confidentially at Tufts.

Guideline highlights:

  • Confidential records destruction should be a habit rather than an exceptional activity.
  • Use a cross shredder or Cintas' destruction bins. Cintas is Tufts' vendor for confidential records destruction services. More details about using Cintas are in the guidelines.
  • Contact your IT support group about what to do with old workstations and laptops. Computers store data in a complex manner that is not readily apparent to end-users. Don't assume you have manually deleted all confidential or sensitive data on your computers.
  • Contact your IT support group about disposing of CDs, flash drives, or other media. One should not give flash drives or other memory devices to family or friends for reuse. Memory devices store data in a complex manner that is not readily apparent to end-users. Deleting files may not fully destroy files on these memory devices.