The reports of data theft from companies around the world continue to grow. Companies of all sorts are having to report to their customers that personal data they entrusted with the company, has been leaked.
Because of this growing privacy issue, many companies are spending time and money protecting themselves from internet-based hacking which often leads to data loss. But this isn’t the only way data can be lost and companies that are the heaviest data users need to be aware that proper disposal of computer components reaching the end of their life cycle is just as important to ensure data is protected as is protecting active computer databases from a cyber attack.
Which Businesses are Vulnerable to Data Theft?
Much of the attention that has been focused on identity theft from financial companies that use and hold massive amounts of personal details, often referred to as PII– Personally Identifiable Information. This information resides in company computers. These active computer databases are increasingly protected from cyberattacks. But large financial institutions are not the only ones with large amounts of PII that could be vulnerable. Hospitals, doctors, and lawyers can also be among the top targets for cyber attacks. Most are taking steps to protect their clients and patients. It is also important to make sure that when computer systems are updated with new hardware, the old equipment is disposed of properly to keep PII from being released.
Recycling computer hardware that has held sensitive information is not as simple as other electronic recycling. In this area, the point is not only to keep hazardous materials out of landfills, or even recover rare metals, it is to make sure that the information once held on computer drives, both optical and solid state, is secure until such time as those drives are destroyed.
The type of equipment that needs extra security attention is not as obvious as it might seem to anyone outside the IT world. More than just a computer’s hard drive can store PII. Hardware that could be holding sensitive information includes:
- Local hard drives
- Network hard drives
- Company cell phones
- Industrial electronic equipment
- Smart office equipment.
- Copy machines
- Banking equipment
- Medical devices
The first step for any company, law office, hospital, or doctor’s facility that is updating, or upgrading its computer systems, should be to determine what happens to old hardware, and how will those old pieces of equipment be disposed of. In this situation, the company should ensure that the equipment is being handled by recycling experts that follow security guidelines for the disposal of electronic waste.
Secure recycling includes a number of common steps but primarily ensures that the computer equipment goes through all processes that will remove PII before the recycling process is complete. Hard drives and other storage devices are kept secure until such time as data destruction is confirmed and the equipment is destroyed or recycled or repurposed. The recycling experts involved in the process will provide documentation of the destruction, and certification that all data has been removed or destroyed.
For attorneys who are handling sensitive legal information, for hospitals and doctors handling health information for their patients, the need for secure disposal of electronics that have reached the end of their life cycle is an important part of cybersecurity. A part that cannot be downplayed or left to chance. Hoping that the computer retailer or lease company that has been hired to replace a computer system will follow best security practices is an opportunity for the inadvertent release of sensitive information. Making recycling experts part of any discussion regarding the replacement of electronic equipment will not only ensure that electronic waste is disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner but that sensitive information is not released in the process.
Mayer Alloys Corporation, in partnership with OmniSource Electronics Recycling, an R2 Certified Recycler, provides peace of mind that you are disposing of your organization’s electronic waste safely and responsibly. All electronic waste is recycled in an R2 Certified facility. All hard drives are destroyed and Certificates of Destruction in compliance with Department of Defense (DoD) security standards are provided. For more information about electronic recycling check out our Ultimate Guide To Corporate Electronic Recycling and reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Contact us today to see how we can meet your needs!