Category: Risk Mitigation
Government PIVs : A Piece of the Security Puzzle

Government PIVs : A Piece of the Security Puzzle

                If you work in a government office or are a government contractor then chances are you have some form of government identification. That would be called a Government Personnel Identification Verification Card (PIV). For government workers and contractors, this smart card is an important piece of equipment. The PIVs are part of the Federal Information Processing Standard Publication 201 (FIPS 201) which is U.S. Federal government standard that specifies PIV requirements for federal employees and contractors. It also grew out of Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12; which in 2004 originally called for a standardization of identification for government employees and contractors.

Having a PIV will give you access to government/sensitive information and the equipment that monitors, contains and destroys of that information. It is meant to prevent the unauthorized access of government buildings and computer systems.

What is a PIV? A PIV is a card system implemented to store and collect biographic and biometric information which includes; full name, social security number, applicant ID number, date of birth, current address, a digital color photograph, fingerprints (10), biometric template (two fingerprints), organization, employee affiliation, work e-mail address, work telephone number, office address, copies of identity source document, employee status, military status, foreign national status, federal emergency response official status, law enforcement official status, results of background check, government agency code and PIV card issuance location.

All of this information is collected and combined with a Personal Identification Number (PIN), expiration date, card serial number, issuer identification number and a Contact Integrated Circuit Chip (ICC)/contactless ICC. There is also PIV authentication key, PIV registrar approval and a cardholder unique identifier which is used to authenticate the cardholder to host computer systems.

Why is all this information collected? This information allows the Department of Justice (DOJ) the ability to conduct background investigations and other national security checks for government employees and contractors. It also completes the identity proofing and registration process and creates a data record in the PIV Identity Management System (IDMS). The final result will be the issuing of a PIV card.

The privacy issues of each individual are also addressed. The risk of data compromise is addressed by physical, administrative and technical security measures. All information is on a need to know basis and all individuals with access have undergone vetting processes and have been trained to protect privacy data. Employee/contractor data is also protected in the physical sense with locked doors and storage containers and hosting facility buildings have security guards and secured doors and all entrances are monitored by surveillance equipment. Picture ID badges are required for access to the data and facilities. Technically, the data is encrypted when in transit and secured networks and servers are used.

A complete copy of the PIV standard and all its information can be found here.

All right, they have all this personal information and they secure it safely. Good news but what happens when the data is updated, revised or discarded? Computer files are easily changed and updated but paper copies that contain now incorrect information can’t just be tossed in the dumpster out back. They need to be shredded before disposal. That is where K.L. Security and our division of Dahle Paper Shredders come in.

Like with many other products, the government demands a higher standard for shredders that are used to destroy sensitive information. Our NSA/CSS 02-01 High Security Paper Shredders meet the current standard for the destruction of top secret COMSEC documents and materials and our products can be found on the NSA/CSS Evaluated Products List (EPL) for high security crosscut paper shredders; being on this list means that our products have been evaluated by the NSA or its designee and they meet the requirements of NSA/CSS 02-01.

One of our products on this list is the 20394 High Security Paper Shredder; it has a 16” feed opening and is driven by a powerful 2 hp motor. The solid steel frame houses and aligns two perfectly matched cutting cylinders that are milled from a single bar of German Solingen steel. The design maximizes durability and minimizes flexing to produce a consistently 1mm x 4.7mm particle size. It is also housed in a wooden cabinet with casters, making it easy to move and position in different places of operation.

The 20434 NSA-CSS 02-01 High Security Shredder has a lot of great features. It is designed to be used in a small office setting or by a team of employees for the destruction of top secret documents. Among the features are electronic sensors that turn the shredder on when you’re ready to use it and shut it off when the shred compartment is full or open. The matching pair of solid steel cutting cylinders is capable of reducing a single sheet of paper into over 15,500 particles. While the particles are reduced to such a small size that they’re impossible to reassemble, we still recommend that you stir the shredded paper to protect security and mitigate risk.

We want this article to serve two purposes. First off, if you are a government employee/contractor, we want you to be fully aware of how and what government security precautions and standards affect you. Second, we want to tell you about our NSA/CSS/GSA approved products that would be perfect for use in your government office. Information is digitalized across the boards nowadays but paper copies remain or can be produced. You must be prepared to shred documents when the need arises, use the right shredder.

Paper and the Future of Data Security

The paper on your desk isn’t going away. The forms you need to fill out or have clients/customers fill out aren’t going away. Even as we live in the age of e-mail, online payments and transferring documents via zip/flash drives. We still need paper and we still need to address the security concerns that surround that paper. Those forms, receipts, order-sheets and statements have valuable information on them and remember; even its old and out of date, it can still be valuable to someone else. Someone who doesn’t have your best interests in heart; thieves pluck those documents out the trash and use the information on them to steal from you or your customers. It’s your responsibility to see that all that paper is disposed of in a safe and secure manner. That means you need a paper shredder.

What is the status of paper in today’s business world?

Paper consumption has risen 400% since 1970. The flip-side to that is that in the last ten years (2000-2010) paper production has declined on average of 1% per year. There are a lot of reasons for that double-sided statistic.  People print double-sided documents, screen technology is easier on the eyes, paperless storage technology is on the rise and email became vastly more popular and efficient then faxes and mailed correspondences. There are less pleasant reasons as well; such as white collar unemployment and companies printing less brochures and catalogs.

Despite the technological advancements of the last forty years, paper remains a constant in offices. You use for virtually everything; checks, stationary, envelopes, business reports/documents, printers, fax machines, advertisements, coupons, personal care products such as paper towels, toilet paper and issues. You would be hard-pressed to find an office that doesn’t have most if not all of those items. The world at large is still hungry for paper as well.  In 2010, over 300 million metric tons of paper products were used and sold worldwide. Of that total, over 68 million metric tons were used in the United States; we consume the most out of every country. In fact, the average US office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper each year and the average US consumer uses 749 lbs of paper products each year.

The main reason you need a shredder for the masses of paper that run through your office each year is security-oriented. Thieves will fish paper out of the trash for numbers for bank accounts, social security and credit cards, the main ingredients for identity theft; of which, there 15 million victims in 2010, which is 10% higher than the year before; corporate espionage is a constant threat as well. It accounted for $15 billion in 2010 and with a growth rate of 15%, the FBI declared it the fastest growing crime in the United States; Despite the various pieces of federal legislation enacted to protect clients and consumers; 1996 – HIPAA, 2002 – Sarbanes-Oxley, 2003 – FACTA and PCI-DSS in 2004.

People need shredders and they’re developing a taste and sense for good ones. What do people look for in a shredder nowadays? Increased waste volume for fewer bag changes, increased sheet capacity, the ability to shred other media and 12” feed width and machines that require no or minimal maintenance.  Add that to the fact that sales for strip cut shredders are declining and wide format (14 7/8”) printing is dead and you start to get a better picture. Another question you should consider when looking at shredding options is on-site vs. off-site shredding.

There are also environmental and safety concerns to be considered. UL has shifted from the 1950 to the 60950 standard and the EPA warns to careful about indoor air pollution, such as the paper dust caused by shredders. People want energy efficiency and to join the trend of “going green”.

For customers who would like all these concerns met and considered, Dahle Professional Shredders offers their CleanTEC line of shredders. They offer increased waste capacities in all ranges, increased sheet capacities and safe technology such as; verbal and contact emergency stop features and proximity sensors. The CleanTEC line also has electronic sensing protection (ESP) and a sheet capacity sensor which prevents overfeeding. The CleanTEC technology removes 98% of the fine dust generated by shredding and its SmartPower multi-stage power management system saves energy. The even flow lubrication ensures that the machine is oiled when and where it’s needed and it is quiet. All machines are made to run in the high 40s to low 50s db rating which should be acceptable in any work environment.

K.L. Security recognizes that secure and efficient shredders are an important part of office security; which is why we offer security and commercial shredders from Dahle. They are a company we believe in and their CleanTEC models can serve well in your office or home.

Your Shredder Might Need Tougher Teeth

Shredders Comparisons

Your Shredder Might Need Tougher Teeth

                K.L. Security has made its customers aware that paper shredders should be considered security items, not just a piece of office equipment. Another aspect of that is to understand that many models of paper shredders can be used for more than just disposing of paperwork. Sensitive information is no longer just on paper products; companies often use CDs and DVDs to store everything from client names and credit cards to bank account numbers. DVDs and CDs cannot just be tossed in the trash; even if you have erased them, scratched them up or smashed them. Smart and determined thieves can often retrieve data from disc that only has cosmetic damage.

Compare paper shredder brands

                There is a security question that you should ask yourself; should my company or home office stick with a paper-only shredder or do we need a model that thoroughly destroy CDs and DVDs and other forms of multimedia as well? Here is a list of pros and cons of each type of shredder.

Shredding Speed: paper-only shredders will go through documents faster; shredders that focus on or have the multimedia option will go slower; electronic media is tougher then paper. Warning! There is a danger to trying to shred discs/plastics in a paper-only shredder. You could be hit with a wave of potentially sharp bits of former credit cards and computer discs as well as damage the cutting cylinders of your current shredder. Before you shred any plastic or media, check to make sure your shredder is rated to shred it!

Bag Changes: Shredders that destroy DVDs/CDs often require a separate bag or bin for the chopped-up plastic and metal bits. There is a reason for that; it is more environmentally responsible; electronics often go to separate disposal areas for recycling.

Maintenance: paper-only shredders require various levels of maintenance depending which style of cutting head they use; mostly different levels of oiling. Since shredders that can destroy plastic have tougher cutting heads; they need more maintenance and controlled use. Regularly scheduled oiling is a necessary element.

Security: in this area you need to decide which type of shredder you need. If you think that your primary concern should the destruction of multimedia then go with a dedicated model that can provide the heavier cutters needed. If your company or office is paper-oriented then go with a cross-cut paper shredder. There are many crosscut shredders that also support multimedia shredding. It’s best to consult with an expert first!

Price and warranty: Price is often an important factor but don’t overlook warranties. Top-shelf manufacturers will have the cutting heads on their shredders covered from ten years to life. Product quality goes a long way with the return on your investment and the warranty is a reflection of that quality.

Here is a list of companies that manufacture both paper and multimedia shredders.


Dahle (Dahle shredders can universally shred documents, many are rated for staples, while many of their CleanTEC models can shred DVDs/CDs.)








Martin Yale Industries



Doing a job right requires the right piece of equipment. Tossing your paperwork and multimedia into the garbage without properly destroying it is too much of an identity theft risk.  Shredders aren’t only for paper anymore. There are models that can destroy computer discs, DVDs, CDs, prescription pill bottles, credit cards and hard drive parts. One final piece of advice, many brand name manufacturers offer combo models that can switch between multimedia and paper modes. Be certain to ask the right questions and learn how each of these models shreds the different materials as well as learn the most you can regarding  ratings and warranties for the cutting heads.


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Avoiding Industrial Espionage with On-Site Paper Shredders

Shredding documents on site vs. off site mitigates security risk for many business enterprises.

Industrial espionage is rife. Newspaper headlines are often filled with tales of defecting executives and disgruntled employees that have been accused of selling company secrets to rival businesses, and there seems to be no end to the lengths that some people are willing to go to in order to steal company data.

How serious is it? U.S. Intelligence officials estimate the financial cost of such actions could run as high as $250bn a year in lost sales for American businesses. Volkswagen, Coca-Cola, Google, Renault, Motorola, Intel, and General Electric have already fallen victim to industrial espionage, and more will surely follow.

If these examples prove anything, it is that you cannot afford to take chances with your data. The more control you have over company documents the better, and when the time comes to dispose of sensitive materials, you need to do it right.

For instance, do you send your paper shredding to an off-site vendor? The risks of doing so are greater than you might think. Here are five reasons why shredding your documents on-site and in-house is better for your security.

1. Regulatory Compliance – The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act dictates that businesses disposing of credit check data need to do so securely so that it cannot be compromised in any way. Similar safeguards are required under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. On-site paper shredders are a great way to fulfill these regulations immediately, and without further legal action.

2. Risk Mitigation – The less people that have access to your confidential information, the better. Paper shredders are a sound risk reduction strategy because they instantly remove access to a given document and ensure that it cannot be used against you now, or in the future.

3. Identity Theft – It is one of the biggest growing crimes in recent years, yet something that is easy to guard against with the judicious use of a paper shredder. Give your clients the protection they deserve and shred their confidential data in-house instead of calling in outsiders.

4. Court Room Confidence – In the event of industrial espionage, American companies are protected by the Economic Espionage Act of 1996, so long as the secrets that were compromised were subject to reasonable security measures. In other words, if it was recovered from a dumpster, left in a coffee shop, or it fell out the back of an off-site shredding truck, your hopes of successfully prosecuting those responsible may well be diminished. Don’t take chances. Shred your documents when you are finished with them.

5. Peace of Mind – Can you really trust outside shredding companies to guarantee your documents are handled securely? How well do you really know your shredding company? What is their record like with other customers? What about their drivers, their procedures, their schedules? The peace of mind you get from doing something yourself cannot be matched, because you know that it has been done right. Shredding documents in-house ensures this.

Document security is not something you can afford to be lax with, because the moment you let your guard down, your company is left exposed, and the risk of data loss is increased. So if you’re truly concerned about industrial espionage, and the effects that it could have on your business, invest in some in-house paper shredders. It may just be the best decision you ever make.