DIN 66399 outlines seven new levels of security related to paper shredders and the destruction of media. The new levels, P-1 through P-7, are outlined below.
Security Level P-1 (low security)
Security Level P-1 is acceptable for shredding general documents. Less-sophisticated strip-cut shredders provide this level of security. These shredders will normally shred a standard sheet of A4 paper (8.5” x 11”) into long strips. Shred sizes can be up to ≤12 mm wide strips of any length. This security level is useful for general information but not for personal information containing bank account numbers or passwords.
Security Level P-2 (low security)
Security Level P-2 shredders provide basic protection of everyday documents such as junk mail. Level P-2 shredders still create long strip cuts, but which are narrower in size than Level P-1. Level P-2 shredders cut A4 paper sheet into approximately 34 strips, with shred widths of ≤6 mm. As with Security Level P-1, this security level is for general, but not personal information.
Security Level P-3 (medium security)
Security Level P-3 is the minimum security level recommended for internal documents (i.e., e-mails, presentations). This is the minimum level of security recommended for most users. Level P-3 shredders are known as cross-cut or diamond-cut shredders and will cut a sheet of A4 paper into approximately 200 particles. The shreds range in size from ≤2 mm wide strips of any length or ≤320 mm² particles of any width. Users who want to shred credit card applications and bank statements, or any documents with account or Social Security numbers, should use Level 3 shredders or higher.
Security Level P-4 (medium to high security)
Security Level P-4 shredders are known as super cross-cut shredders and are recommended for everyday documents with personally identifiable information. Level P-4 shredders cut a sheet of A4 paper into ≤160 mm² particles with a 6 mm width.
Security Level P-5 (high security)
Security Level P-5 shredders are known as micro-cut shredders. Level P-5 shredders are used for sensitive documents with personally identifiable information and will cut the A4 paper sheet into ≤30 mm² particles with a 2 mm width.
Security Level P-6 (high security)
Security Level P-6 shredders are known as super micro-cut shredders. Level P-6 shredders are used for confidential documents with fine print and will cut the A4 paper sheet into ≤10 mm² particles with a 1 mm width.
Security Level P-7 (high security)
Security Level P-7 shredders are known as high-security shredders. Level P-7 shredders are used for top-secret or classified documents and will cut A4 paper sheets into ≤5 mm² particles with 1 mm width.
When considering the purchase of a shredder, it may be important to note which security level you personally need and which security level the shredder you are considering buying provides.