Recycling old IT hardware is not always straightforward. Mistakes can sometimes be made that result in environmental damage, or that can expose you and your customers to the risk of data theft. Here are the five biggest mistakes you want to avoid when disposing of old assets:
1) Not Doing Proper Data Sanitisation
This is the ultimate biggie of all the possible things you should not do. Even when passing equipment from one employee to another in your own organisation, the data should be thoroughly and comprehensively wiped. That applies doubly when an asset is being disposed of. And deleting data is no good. Recovering deleted files and folders is child’s play to any semi-competent IT person. Data must be wiped / erased in such a manner that it is impossible to recover it using the specialised software and hardware that exists for that very purpose.
Even seemingly innocuous data, in little snippets, is gold dust in the hands of a criminally minded expert. Social engineering is the dark art of extracting information about an individual usually from a starting point of perhaps nothing more than knowing their work extension and what kind of car they drive. That can be built up into an amazing fuller picture through phishing expeditions that elicit information from unwitting colleagues and friends. These people are extremely clever, devious and inventive.
The penalties for breaches of the stringent Data Protection laws have become exceedingly harsh, not to mention the potentially disastrous and lurid headlines that follow leaks of personal data into the public domain. Data can be a minefield, so treat it as such.
2) Letting Any Old Disposal Person/Company Collect Your Equipment – Or Doing It Yourself
Now that you understand the risks of taking an amateur’s approach to disposing of IT assets, you may understandably be drawn to the seemingly cheapest solution – engaging a company who will collect your equipment and dispose of it FOR FREE!
The trouble is you have no idea whether or not they will responsibly sanitise any residual data on devices, or whether it will immediately find its way to a criminal element just like stolen credit card data does. You have no control over where the equipment ends up – it could be sold on eBay complete with data or sent to a third world country for resale. Heavy metals in circuit boards are unlikely to be disposed of properly and may well end up in landfill, allowing toxins to enter the drinking water supply.
Doing it yourself may reduce these risks but then any mistakes or oversights you make could end up with any of the above issues occurring, with the blame being laid directly at your door.
3) Not Knowing If You Are Compliant
Legislation and regulations change frequently, especially around the thorny subject of Data Protection. It’s probably best to think of personal data, of any type – even shoe size – as being potentially troublesome and something that could end up putting somebody out of a job if proper precautions are not taken at all times. The first two points above illustrate the potential Data Protection and Environmental Protection laws that can easily be broken without expert knowledge and expertise.
4) Disposing Too Quickly
Even assets that appear to be broken down and beyond repair often contain viable and reusable components. It can make financial sense to develop an element of an organisation’s recycling policy to take advantage to this scenario.
5) Not Obtaining Auditable Proof Of Disposal
Disposal of assets needs to be properly documented and certified. Certainly, provable data destruction has become a high priority.
How To Avoid These Mistakes & Dispose With Peace Of Mind
Engage a professional IT asset disposal company who understand all of the legal and environmental requirements. A company like us will be fully accredited by the relevant bodies, as adhering to the highest standards of quality and asset disposal procedures. We will guarantee that your process abides by the law and can be certified in a manner that will stand up to audit, inquiry and scrutiny should the need arise.
Call us today on 01332 371 989 for a brief initial chat about your project and requirements. Our friendly team is always happy to answer questions on any aspect of asset disposal.