There is a growing concern over the inadvertent release of personal and proprietary information. Schools and universities need to create a data governance strategy and turn to a certified electronic waste (e-waste) recycler with the skill and experience to dispose of electronic equipment that has come to the end of its lifecycle. The proper disposal of e-waste is an important consideration for every school, school district, college and university.
It’s not just banks or hospitals at risk
Large healthcare and financial services organizations are being hit by fines and lawsuits after some customers' personally identifiable information (PII) is left on a computer hard drive that has been pulled out of service and not disposed of properly. An example of this is industry giant, Morgan Stanley, which was fined $35 million for not ensuring their 5-year-long computer refresh included secure destruction of old hard drives and servers. But it’s not just banks, insurance companies, or hospitals that need to worry about correct computer end-of-life procedures. Administrators at colleges, universities and large school districts may not realize what is at risk.
Any institution of higher learning, whether it is a college, university or vocational training school is holding on to vast amounts of personally identifiable information (PII) that could be stolen if the electronic devices on which this information has been stored are not disposed of properly. For universities, the information at risk could also include research, intellectual property or other types of confidential information. Some universities, such as Villanova, have already put rules in place requiring that special care be taken when disposing of end-of-life electronics:
“The disposal of computer and electronic storage equipment can create information security risks if not properly disposed of. These risks are related to the potential unauthorized release of sensitive or confidential information, violations of software license agreements, and unauthorized disclosure of intellectual property that might remain in hard disks and other storage media.” –Villanova University IT policy
The same holds true for Preschools and K-12 schools and school districts. Having a technology recycling plan is important to ensure that personally identified information is not left on the devices being disposed of. Some school districts have created a Data Governance policy and as part of that, stipulated how assets are approved for disposal, which assets are refurbished, and which are disposed of. The policy also provides a methodology for how the devices are disposed of and requires that a district‐approved vendor is contracted for the disposal of all technological systems/equipment.
Hiring the wrong electronic recycler can be dangerous
When removing a computer from service, the company hired to replace those devices will sometimes harvest parts including precious metals. Waste disposal companies that specialize in electronic waste will make sure that all storage devices, ranging from hard drives to smartphones, are wiped, and/or destroyed in a secure environment that protects against the integrity of an organization’s sensitive or private information and will provide a certificate of destruction providing an audit trail for each device that has been destroyed. As Morgan Stanley found out, there are companies that will agree to haul away your computers, only to put them up for auction on the internet.
Information security is important to any company. Security efforts cannot end when storage devices are taken out of service. Responsible companies, large and small, and educational institutions of every type are moving towards an end-to-end security and data governance policy that can reduce the possibility of sensitive, private, or proprietary information inadvertently being released. To be sure an organization is protected, hiring a recycler certified in electronic recycling is key.
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 are provided. For more information about electronic recycling check out our Ultimate Guide To Corporate Electronic Recycling and reach out to email@example.com for more information. Contact us today to see how we can meet your needs!