What happens to your digital data once it's no longer needed? If you run a business that holds any client details whatsoever, or you handle sensitive and confidential information on a personal computer, the answer should be that it's sanitased. Sanitation is the process of irreversibly deleting files, data, or an OS so that it cannot be recovered by a malicious (or otherwise) third-party. This is very different to simply marking the data as 'gone' or 'deleted' via a tool such as a recycle bin, or uninstalling a program or app.
Effective sanitation clears the blocks of information that make up a file from the hard drive completely, either by formatting the drive or scrambling the data beyond recovery. This is usually performed by dedicated software built for the task. Data sanitation is regularly used by companies, public organisations, and home users alike. It's particularly popular in industries that handle logs and records of financial transactions, medical and personal information, and confidential audio/video files.
Why Is Good Data Sanitation So Important?
The main risk of leaving data lying around on an old computer is that your business may fall victim to a hack long after you've finished using the machine. Even if the computer is sent to be recycled or scrapped, data could still be retrieved from a junked unit.
Criminals often search for unwanted or unused computers and raid hard drives as a speculative activity. Even seemingly harmless apps can still contain saved usernames and passwords, which can then be used to access confidential networks and systems. Once an in-route is found, malware and ransomware can be spread to newer, relevant machines still using legacy technology.
Identity theft is another major threat. Criminals can often piece together enough information to trick password retrieval forms from a company computer. The risks still apply, even if the person in question has moved on from your company.
You may also run into legal problems if you fail to dispose of customer and client data correctly within a designated timeframe. Data protection laws such as the GDPR require businesses to dispose of customer data on request, or when it's no longer vital to the provision of their services.
Data Destruction With Absolute ITAD
Absolute IT Asset Disposals use a dedicated software package, Blannco, to erase user data permanently from all the PCs, laptops, storage devices, and computers we handle. Alternatively, for physical destruction we can provide shredding to 10mm. Both services can be provided on or off client premises. We are an ADISA-accredited company providing secure, reliable, and tracked asset disposal for outdated and broken business IT equipment. Contact us and we'll discuss what you'll need.
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