January 22, 2019

New Year Declutter Challenge Week Three: Securely Destroy and Recycle Old Media

When you think about decluttering, how often do you factor in electronic media?

Taking stock of old tech equipment such as hard drives, USBs, and CD’s may not have occurred to you, but these items can be a surprising source of unsecure clutter, both at home and in the workplace. 

Unused media, such as old laptops and cell phones, take up unnecessary space in the workplace and can cost your organization millions of dollars if they are not securely destroyed.

For part three of our weekly Declutter Challenge, cheque out these tips for getting rid of old media: 

  1. Identify the areas in your office where e-media may be stockpiling. This could include storage rooms, IT departments, warehouses and even desks. Then, consider what other pieces of unneeded tech may be scattered throughout your workplace, such as old smart devices, cell phones and photocopier hard drives.
  2. Establish a representative, such as a member of the IT department, to be responsible for reviewing old media and determining what’s no longer needed. Make sure that old media is stored in a secure location during this process, and that access is limited to only those specified to assist with decluttering, to prevent security breaches.
  3. The best way to stay motivated to declutter is to start with the biggest jobs first, so the task becomes less overwhelming as you go. Start by tackling the most cluttered areas, the biggest pieces of tech (such as old desktops) and any items containing lots of storage in need of review.
  4. Once you’ve identified which pieces of media you can reclaim for future use (those that do not contain sensitive data which could put security at risk), make sure to have the rest securely destroyed. It may be tempting to toss old media in the trash or recycling, or even resell it, but even if you wipe or degauss old media, the data could be recovered. Physical destruction is the only 100% certain way to ensure data is irrecoverable. The right destruction provider will also ensure your media is securely recycled after it’s destroyed, and provide proof of destruction.
  5. After you’ve finished decluttering your e-media, prevent future pile-ups by conducting frequent reviews and scheduling regular media destruction. Be sure to document and communicate your technical policies, so employees know not to leave old tech lying around.

Technology is a big part of our everyday lives, particularly in the office, and with new advancements constantly making old tech obsolete, it’s important that employees are aware of the risk of leaving electronic media lying around. Be sure to provide training on information security policies regularly, and establish a Clean Desk Policy that ensures all devices are locked away when not in use.

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