Old hard drives and backup tapes are a major security threat for any business; they store a massive amount of confidential data that can easily be compromised.
Regardless whether the drives or tapes are outdated or inoperable, this data is always accessible and needs to be destroyed professionally.
Stolen data can permanently damage a company's reputation, not to mention the creating a whirlwind of legal and financial problems. Some businesses never fully recover from a corporate data breach because of the punishing costs and destruction of the brand.
Every business needs to replace computers from time to time and even more frequently today, as newer technology makes them obsolete. This results in heaps of old computers equipment gathering dust in a storage room.
Businesses aren’t always sure what to do with this redundant equipment, but they do know they cannot just throw it out.
One hard drive can contain hundreds of thousands of files and when a file is deleted, the information actually remains on the drive. This includes deleted e-mail messages and records of all online activity.
Formatting or overwriting will not even be enough to prevent confidential, proprietary and sensitive data from being recovered by data thieves by using the right techniques and equipment.
Deleting files from a device doesn’t completely obliterate the data. Identity thieves can extract information from a tape or hard drive - even after it has been formatted, the data remains on the drive or tape.
Although hospitals, financial services, banks and government are subject to higher standards of confidentiality, every business has information that needs to be protected. Proper media destruction helps keep company information safe.
Physical destruction of old devices is the best way to reduce a company’s data breach exposure. There is also a legal requirement that needs to be considered.
Destroying your hard drives and tapes helps keep your business compliant with Protection of Personal Information Act 2013 (PoPI) and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
In addition to this, business leaders should not overlook the cost of storing old backup media. Office space comes at a premium, and storing outdated computers and storage media means less space for revenue-generating activities.
Businesses must incorporate regular tape and hard drive destruction into their data security plan to maximise profitability.
By destroying old hard drives and backup tapes professionally and securely, you help to ensure total information privacy for your customers and your business. You work hard to gain the trust of your customers and wouldn’t want to throw it away by compromising their data.
There is more to information security than choosing the right destruction equipment.
What happens to old IT equipment prior to destruction is just as important; one needs to keep it in a secure location or it could be long-gone before destruction.
Wale Arewa is Xperien CEO
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