Old data may create new risks for businesses
Shred-it offers tips to help arm your business against fraud before disposing of old electronic devices
Apr 16, 2013, 04:09 ET
NEW YORK, April 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- When it comes to aging or obsolete hard drives and electronic devices, many companies may not be vigilant enough with information security procedures. Not only should businesses be careful about what goes in the trash bin, they should also consider how to dispose of old electronic devices as they may be a source of potential fraud. Further, while secure disposal of old electronic devices is crucial, it's also important to ensure these items are being recycled. With Earth Day coming up on April 22, now is a perfect time for businesses to take the steps to guarantee that obsolete electronic devices are properly destroyed and recycled.
A recent North American survey asking large and small businesses to share their attitudes, practices and protocols towards data security revealed that 54 per cent of American businesses think that erasing, wiping, reformatting or degaussing old electronic devices was enough to protect their confidential information from being retrieved. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The most effective way to permanently destroy all information is to crush the hard drive or electronic media device.
"In order for businesses to fully protect themselves in today's information-based economy, it is crucial to look at all potential sources of fraud," says Bruce Andrew, Vice President, from Shred-it. "Organizations must think twice before recycling or repurposing old hard drives or electronic media devices to ensure they're not leaving themselves or their customers vulnerable to fraud or identity theft."
The cost of destroying electronic devices is minimal when compared to the consequences if sensitive information is lifted from an old hard drive or electronic media device. To ensure your company doesn't become a victim of this type of fraud, below are some tips to consider:
- Perform regular clean-outs of storage facilities and avoid stockpiling unused hard drives and electronic media
- Create a comprehensive information security strategy and implement security policies that govern all units of an organization and are compliant with national identity theft and privacy legislation
- Regularly review your organization's information security policy to incorporate new and emerging forms of electronic media and ensure any policy updates are clearly and regularly communicated to all employees
- Destroy all unused hard drives and electronic media using a third-party provider who has a secure chain of custody to ensure your data is being kept out of the hands of fraudsters
- Ensure your vendor has well-established recycling and environmental protocols
- Consider fully destroying information-storing items such as hard drives and electronic media devices, including: backup magnetic tapes, floppy disks, zip drives, CDs or DVDs
Shred-it is a world-leading information security company providing information destruction services that ensure the security and integrity of our clients' private information. The company operates 140 service locations in 16 countries worldwide, servicing more than 150,000 global, national and local businesses, including the world's top intelligence and security agencies, more than 500 police forces, 1,500 hospitals, 8,500 bank branches and 1,200 universities and colleges.
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