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What is the NAID ‘em campaign all about?

By Bob Johnson, NAID CEO

It may seem like an unusual position to take at first, but the NAID ‘em campaign stems from the idea that NAID members and their customers are actually hurt by the simplistic connotation of the word “shredding.” To most customers, “shred” or “shredding” simply means putting something through a machine that slices it up. That was fine 25 years ago before most destruction was outsourced and regulatory requirements were developed. But it’s not fine now.

Today, proper data destruction includes written policies, employee training, chains of custody, transfer of fiduciary responsibility, vendor selection due diligence, contracts and indemnification. Shredding doesn’t include these processes and yet they are integral to proper destruction. If everything is tied to just the act of shredding, then owning the machine is the only requirement of the service provider, in other words, it is only a commodity that will go to the lowest bidder. NAID’s mission is to promote the proper destruction of confidential material. Proper destruction is more complicated than just reducing the size of the paper or other media.

Why the term “NAID ‘em”?

We want people to understand that proper data destruction involves more than just size reduction. Why not create a new phrase that encompasses what destruction is really about? That might just be creative and outrageous enough to make people think about it. And, if that makes sense, why not have that phrase be synonymous with the industry trade association that is dedicated to proper data destruction: NAID? For example, I need to “NAID” those confidential documents to ensure they don’t end up in the wrong hands. To make it easier to remember, that sentence can be reduced to “NAID them” or “NAID ‘em.” It’s logical, memorable and, it’s not common.

No one thinks “NAIDing” is really going to replace the word “shredding.” The campaign is merely seen as a creative way to make the point that there is more to proper data destruction than most people consider. It’s an outrageous and audacious way to make a point. On the other hand, no one thinks this is a short-term campaign either. It will take years for enough people to understand that shredding does not adequately represent the appropriate concept for regulatory compliance. Some already do, others will never understand; we just want as many people as possible.