By Ann Luongo
Paper shredding or document destruction can be critical for protecting confidential and sensitive information. For decades, most of us have created files, for use both personally and in business, in which to keep our sensitive content, like bills, financial statements, marketing plans, employee files, and even delivery packages.
In today’s world, where confidentiality can be a big concern, government offices, non-commercial organizations, large corporations, small businesses, and private citizens alike make use of shredding – the action of cutting paper into strips or fine pieces, which are then collected and recycled. There are companies, like DataSafe, that can help you in this process.
Rick Carey has been operating his independently-owned document shredding firm, based on the South Shore and serving Eastern Massachusetts since 1990. DataSafe specializes in the destruction of documents/records, and electronic devices such as hard drives, smartphones, laptops, kindles – anything on which sensitive information is stored.
“We are the oldest independent firm, of which there are very few left,” he said. “Many of our competitors have been gobbled up by the industry giants so, in some ways. we are the ‘David’ in the ‘David versus Goliath.’ My son, Eric, has recently been made partner, so we are both an independent and a family-owned business.”
The company, which is headquartered in Marshfield, also has a satellite administrative location in Pembroke, and a facility for destruction, located in Mansfield. They also operate several mobile shredding vehicles, so that they can offer DataSafe’s services right at the customer’s place of business.
Immediately before launching Datasafe, Rick was a Special Projects Administrator in the corporate security department of Fidelity Investments, in Boston. In those days and in that industry, he said, a very significant amount of sensitive information was stored in paper format, and he saw a need for greater and more secure destruction of documents and saw an opportunity to address that need.
His vision was to address what he saw as a need for greater security in the way documents were being disposed of, and putting his background to good use in a growing industry.
‘My background is in law enforcement and security,” said Rick. “Before my work in corporate America, I had worked in the federal government. While earning a degree in criminal justice from Northeastern University, I was employed at the Drug Enforcement Administration and then the Internal Revenue Service, in the Internal Affairs Department. Talk about a job where no one likes you!”
DataSafe currently serves Eastern Massachusetts, from the Cape out as far as Metro West, and along the South Shore and South Coast.
“It is possible we may expand further in the future. But we see a tremendous amount of opportunity within our currently defined region,” Rick said. “In part, as I mentioned before, when the ‘big guys’ come in, they typically are less focused on personal attention and detail and more on profits, so we believe many customers are being underserved. Additionally, as there continues to be heightened awareness of the dangers of information falling into the wrong hands (we hear about it mostly in reference to infrastructure hacks), we believe demand for our services will increase.”
There are quite a few companies who offer shredding services, but DataSafe sets itself apart in several important ways, Rick said.
“(1) First, we’re independent. We’re not part of a big chain. We know this region, we know the people, and we know the industry.
(2) And, when people call us they get a ‘live’ person answering the phone. Try calling one of the larger entities and you end up in a voicemail maze and someone who may or may not be familiar with the region.
(3) We’re super responsive. We show up when and where we say we will.
(4) We do not believe in surprises or hidden costs on our invoices. There is a tendency among the bigger companies to add fuel surcharges, or paper surcharges, because of the fluctuating value of shredded paper for recycling. When the shredded product is worth less because of the market, the bigger companies pass the loss along to customers. We don’t. We have a firm no-surcharge pledge that we take, and honor.
(5) We have a strong security background which many in the industry do not.”
DataSafe’s services can be performed at the customer’s location, or the goods can be transported securely to our facility and shredded there. They offer certificates of destruction for customers, and also destroy defective products. The company has also recently launched a new home shredding service.
“For a long time, it seemed that shredding was done more by businesses,” Rick said. “However, with security and other concerns that are in the news, we have seen an increased demand for our services to be available for homeowners, so we have dedicated a vehicle for our Home Services Division. We travel to the customer’s home and shred on site for far less than for professional office services.”
Operating a small business is not without its challenges. Dealing with the large entities who will literally do initial jobs below cost in order to attempt to gain market share, Rick added.
“What should be a business based on security concerns has become one where price is a main factor. Our challenge has been to demonstrate to customers that there is a difference between price and value. A lower price does a customer no good if it compromises the customer’s security. Not all companies take the painstaking efforts we do to assure complete secure destruction. In our nearly 30 years, we have destroyed over 550 million documents and have never had a breach or disclosure. Never.”
Effective Jan.1, 2020, the company will officially change its name to Destruction.com, a Datasafe company. When Rick launched the firm, he was fortunate, he said, to acquire “destruction.com” as DataSafe’s URL.
“It’s the home of our website and where our email resides. We think ‘Destruction’ is a powerful name and it says in a word what we do. We will see our Destruction.com brand continue to expand. I anticipate that Eric will play a key role in the company’s future growth. For now, though, we’re concentrating on being the best we can be where we are.”
The Careys have worked with a number of charities over the years have been involved in a number of events to showcase the importance of secure document destruction. Datasafe has also done numerous shredding events for churches over their years in business, usually on weekends, always at reduced rates.
Rick credits not only his son as a critical part of DataSafe’s success, but his wife, as well. “Diane is a strong cheerleader and an unbelievable source of support for this venture during the last 30 years,” he said. “She is a great partner, friend and sounding board. And I can’t neglect mentioning our official Datasafe mascot, our dog Otto, who destroys many things on his own (not necessarily related to the business, but that’s a story for another time).
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