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Recycling Your Hard Drive Could Be A Major Liability

Recycling Your Hard Drive Could Be A Major Liability

You think you’re doing right by the environment with hard drive recycling, but reducing your carbon footprint can put your clients at risk. All it takes is one identity theft crisis to send customers packing and ruin your brand.

Whether you operate a paperless business or not, there comes a time when you need to discard sensitive information. There’s a right and wrong way to do it.

Recycling your hard drive is the dangerous way for more reasons than one.

Improper Data Disposal Will Hurt Your Company

Even some of the largest brand names have fallen victim to data breaches. Target experienced a massive cyber attack that resulted in stolen credit card information from 41 million customers. 

This can happen without even improperly disposing of vulnerable information. Recycling a hard drive versus safer methods is like handing the information to those who don’t have the best interests of your clients and company in mind. That action will expose any client profile information you have on the drive.

Stolen social security numbers, dates of birth, or credit card information puts them at risk of identity theft. It can also hurt them financially, which means your company will have to pay.

Your subjection to a sizable payout will put a financial strain on the company, causing it to close its doors.

Confidential client information isn’t the only thing you have to worry about landing in the hands of crafty criminals. The business information, including employee data, is at risk on recycled hard drives too. Compromising any form of business data, be it customers, clients, or business information can cause problems beyond identity theft.

Hard Drive Recycling Can Empower Competitors

Companies in the same industry check up on each other all the time, and they should do so, but don’t make it easy for them to maintain competitive edge. 

Leaving a hard drive accessible will give competitors everything they’ve been thirsting to know about your company. Imagine what they could do with sales records, client profiles, price sheets, or even internal communications. Thinking recycling is a cheaper, more efficient way could be a costly disposal mistake.

Shortcuts Could Mean the Demise of your Brand

Target managed to survive and save their reputation after their data was compromised a few years ago. It wasn’t without a price after millions of consumers lost confidence in them. Other brands are still dealing with the consequences of improperly stored or disposed data. Equifax credit bureau has communicated how they intend to make it right with consumers hackers stole sensitive information from 143 million Americans.

As one of the major credit bureaus, who stores some of the most sensitive data, individuals have lost confidence in their ability to keep their information safe. Think about how identity theft or mismanagement of information would affect a brand that’s still growing.

A study from Ponemon Institute proves customers have a negative outlook on brands after a data breach. It also shows companies experience harm to their reputation and their financial stability if hackers compromise customer information.

The last thing your business needs is negative outlooks or emotions at the mention of your company’s name. That’s why you shouldn’t recycle your hard drive.

How you SHOULD Dispose of Your Hard Drive

The reason why hard drive recycling isn’t best is because the sensitive information still exists. Deleting it from the device doesn’t wipe it clean.

You need to destroy the drive and you should do it safely. It’s not a job for an amateur and not worth putting your staff’s safety at risk.

Hard drive shredding is a form of identity theft protection that you should take seriously. Even though you can buy hard drive shredders or other machinery to get the job done, it’s best to work with professionals.

In-house staff doesn’t have the training to properly destruct a hard drive. They also can’t provide you with proof you adequately disposed of the information, which may be required by law.

Outsourcing your hard drive destruction allows you to continue focusing on business while making sure you properly discard sensitive business information.

Cover Yourself Beyond a Shredding Service

Choosing a reliable shredding company is the most important step, but it’s not the only one. It starts in-house with making sure your staff helps protect everyone’s data.

Both large and small companies should have procedures to communicate how to handle hard drive disposal. Incorporate company policies that address information security and what to do with old hard drives so that they make it safely to drive shredding professionals.

After your company is on the same page, make sure you hold the shred company accountable for their duties.

The data destruction company you use has an obligation to uphold their agreement to properly dispose of your hard drive. Using a reliable company and not just a cheap consultant will best ensure you get what you pay for.

Otherwise, you may find your hard drive for sale at an online market, landing you with compromised data; the situation you were trying to prevent.

You must do all you can to prevent liability of identity theft and data compromise. That includes careful selection when hiring a shred company.

A good shredding company will offer options for you to cover yourself beyond outsourcing data destruction. Two things your document and drive disposal company should offer are:

  • Chain of Custody
  • Certificate of Destruction

Chain of Custody

Having a Chain of Custody (CoC) is beneficial as an added layer of protection. This is a tracking system that details the movement of your sensitive information until it shreds.

Some industries like the medical field or government-related positions require it. It’s also helpful if your business ever runs into legal issues dealing with compromised sensitive material.

The system keeps record of:

  1. When the data left your custody
  2. Where the shred company removed the data from
  3. Each person who accesses the data
  4. Location of the data at all times
  5. Where and when the company destroyed the data

The final component in the Chain of Custody (CoC) procedure is the Certificate of Destruction.

Certificate of Destruction

A certificate of destruction is a document that serves as proof the company shredded your documents at your request. At minimum, the certificate shows the date, time, and location of the data destruction.

The Certificate of Destruction may also show:

  • Amount of data destroyed
  • Barcode number
  • If client viewed data before it was destroyed
  • Company officer and title
  • Date company requested to destroy data
  • Shred company employee who destroyed data (and signature)
  • Witness (and signature)
  • Date shred company destroyed data

You can request the information from your data disposal company immediately after the service.

MARS Protects Company Information

If you want sensitive data destroyed the right way, rely on a professional company. Clients recognize MARS as experts in document and hard drive descruction. With over 10 years in the business, people know they can trust us to do the job right.

MARS will securely destroy your company’s confidential information and give you a certificate of destruction. With our  services, you can be at peace knowing you’ve protected clients, employees, and your company.