April 12, 2018

How Secure is Your E-Media Disposal?

has shown that a mind-boggling 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is being generated every single day around the world (1 quintillion is 1,000 quadrillions, which is 1,000 trillions).

A lot of the data originates in the workplace with 85% of employees using more than one device to do their jobs, and 32% of them using three or more devices, according to RingCentral survey.

All told, that’s a lot of data… and potentially, a lot of confidential data to protect from information thieves. While there is a big focus on using IT safeguards to protect data on hard drives, thumb drives and other e-media, what happens when the data is no longer needed or the device is old?

Here are 6 ways to determine how secure e-media disposal is in your workplace.

  1. Are there best practices for e-media disposal? Best practices direct everyone on the secure disposal of digital data, and they underline the importance of information security. The 2017 State of the Industry Report, North America revealed that C-Suites and small businesses are falling short. Less than once a quarter, less than half of C-Suites dispose of hard drives, USBs, and other electronic devices containing confidential information. Almost half of SBOs never dispose of devices at all.  
  2. Does the company wipe or degauss e-media to remove digital data? While these processes can make room for new data on a drive still in use, wiping or degaussing (or deleting) a file does not guarantee permanent removal of data from the device. According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, dumpster divers look for legacy and broken down electronic media because even if it has been wiped, data can be retrieved. In a 2017 study conducted by NAID, easy-to-get software recovered personally identifiable information (PII) on 40% of used electronic devices purchased on the second hand market.
  3. Are old hard drives being stockpiled? One of the most important steps in an information security plan is the proper disposal of retired equipment. Stockpiling increases the risk of data theft. Plus, old, dust-covered electronics can be thrown out by mistake during a clean-up. Partner with a professional document destruction company for secure destruction and disposal.  
  4. Does the organization recycle its old e-media? While green strategies are encouraged in the workplace, sending old hard drives, discs, files, and other equipment to be recycled increases the risk of exposure and theft of personal information. Experts recommend the complete destruction of hard drives and e-media before materials are recycled.  
  5. Are compliance requirements covered? Various privacy laws and legislation require the complete and secure destruction of confidential information. If a breach occurs, regulators will require proof of destruction. A professional shredding company will provide a Certificate of Destruction after destruction services.
  6. Does the workplace partner with a professional data destruction company? Earlier research by Shred-it showed that as many as 53% of businesses don’t use a professional service to destroy old e-media. But only physical destruction ensures that data on a hard drive is 100% destroyed.A document destruction company will collect all e-media, securely destroy them, and then send materials to be recycled.

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To learn more about how Shred-it can protect your documents and hard drives, please contact us to get a free quote and security risk assessment.