If the time has come to replace your IT equipment, you may wonder what to do with it once it's no longer usable. Of course, you want to make sure that no data or time is lost, and you also need to ensure that your data is disposed of as safely as possible, so as not to place any of it at risk.
The Third Party Conundrum
Many times, it can seem a better idea to simply destroy old equipment on site rather than hand it over to a third party company for disposal. In fact, much electronic waste simply ends up in a landfill for this very reason. However, doing this doesn't necessarily guarantee the safety of your data.
The hesitation to pass old equipment to a third party for processing is by no means unfounded; in fact, many second-hand hard drives can contain thousands of deleted files, even after they've supposedly been wiped clean. And so, unless a hard drive is completely physically destroyed, your data be far more accessible than you may suspect.
Should your waste be recycled for Free?
Although the price may be right and your boss will be happy that you saved the company money, handing over your equipment for recycling and disposal to a company who does it for free can actually end up costing your company far more.
Even if your equipment is broken and unusable, the data on it can still be very accessible. And if the free service you choose is itself using a third-party scrap business which does very little or no processing, your data could remain accessible for a very long period of time. And because of its value, it may even be sold to untold numbers of individuals. All of that data can be traced back to you, which can result in untold damage to you as well as your company.
The question you need to ask yourself is this: if you expect your data to be processed and your equipment recycled for no cost, can you really expect all of the proper procedures to be undertaken? If your answer is 'no', then the solution is clear.
The Case for Specialist Waste Firms
Really, the best way to ensure both the security of your data and proper waste disposal is to consult a specialist waste firm. These firms may or may not charge for their services, but above all, you should ensure they are reputable. This can be verified by checking for WEEE legislation compliance as well as requesting details of the Waste Carriers Licence they possess.
Companies complying with WEEE engage in secure computer recycling. However, they will likely also provide secure hard drive destruction. All of these activities are engaged in according to the equipment and methods set out by the CESG (the Communications-Electronics Security Group).
Not only that, but a specialist waste firm can also advise you on proper destruction and disposal procedure. For example, if you wish to do some of the recycling yourself, a firm can help you ensure that it's done as securely as possible.
Common Data Destruction Methods
There are many ways in which your data and equipment can be recycled and destroyed. Hard drives and other storage media can be shredded to render them completely unusable. Data can also be purged from hard drives and other devices via magnetic means. Firmware can also be destroyed before the device is sent for the final steps of shredding and recycling.
Devices can also be cleared of data by overwriting. This allows your media to be reused instead of destroyed. Any or all of these methods can be and are used by specialist waste firms to safely conceal data and process unwanted equipment.
Your Data has infinite Value
There is no need to risk your data to the five dangers of free IT recycling when you place it in the hands of a specialist waste firm. Companies like these will understand the infinite value of your data, and as such, will do all they can to protect it. They can assist with the protection, processing and destruction of your data to all required privacy and environmental regulations.