Why you should be careful how you dispose of your old hard drives

The importance of proper disposal

When you save a family photo or a bank statement on your computer, it is stored on the computer’s hard drive. When you are ready to get rid of unused electronic gadgets and computers, you increase your risk of data and identity theft if you do not take precautions to securely wipe or destroy the hard drives.

Did you know: simply deleting a file is not enough—deleted data can easily be recovered by someone with a bit of tech savvy and free software.

That’s why experts recommend securely wiping the data, which can be done by deleting it and writing over the hard drive repeatedly. This makes the data virtually impossible to recover. If you are unable to do this yourself, it’s best to contact a professional to help you do it properly.

Permanent destruction

Sometimes it’s not possible to delete and overwrite data. For instance, if your hard drive is not working. In these cases you need to physically destroy the hard drive to ensure the data on it is un-recoverable.

Our customers’ data is stored on hard drives in a similar manner to how your personal data is stored, we just have a lot more data, and more hard drives. Even though much of the data on our hard drives is encrypted, it is an important part of our security policy to ensure that once a hard drive is no longer being used, the data on it is permanently destroyed, that it is stored securely pending destruction, and that we can verify that it has been permanently destroyed.

We ensure this by securely wiping all functional drives that are no longer being used, and storing them securely with other non-functional drives until they can be physically destroyed. We use professionals who bring their machine to us so we can witness and verify the actual destruction of the drive.

Last month we brought in the Electronics Recycling Association to destroy hard drives that we were no longer using. They brought their AmeriShred mobile hard drive shredder to our offices so we could witness them destroying our hard drives.

Get it certified

You may not want to incur the cost of bringing professionals to your home, but you can still securely destroy your hard drives. It is important that you use a reputable organization who will provide you with a certificate of destruction, which includes the serial number, make and model of the device and the type of data destruction used.

So remember to securely dispose of your old hard drives, and consider using a professional to do it right. Otherwise your company and/or personal information is at risk.

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