How can you ensure that when your computers are finished that all personal and corporate data/information are protected? Many people don’t think too much about the importance of wiping their computers before they sell them or give them away. Don’t let ignorance on proper data protection and recycling of computer hardware jeopardize you, your business or your family’s information!
You might be surprised to know what avenues identity thieves can pursue when it comes to combing through a computer that’s been discarded. Here are some common, though often-overlooked paths: everything from replying to emails to surfing the web and recycling/ disposing of your computer exposes you to fraud and identity theft.
Number One Mistake:
The most overlooked portion of a computer’s life is that of its disposal and the protection of the data on its hard drive. Skipping or binning your computer without first thinking about the safety of your personal information is simply crazy. It’s like throwing your credit card in the garbage bin without first cutting it up.
What can you do?
There are various options for you. Consider them with care:
- Use a professional recycling service, though make sure you know their policy with computer hardware and what it is they do to ensure your equipment and data isn’t compromised. Some professional services will ensure your old computer does not end up in landfill, but they usually don’t guarantee that your data will be removed. If your used computer ends up on the Ivory Coast, its data will probably be accessed and your personal information stolen.
- Use the local municipal recycling center. Before you do this, you still need to treat the hard drive or remove it first. Paying for recycling does give you some surety in that there’s a form of contract in place and monies have changed hands for a service, but always check first to ensure that data destruction is included as part of the contract- and always insist on a certificate to say that the hard drive has been wiped or destroyed.
- Wipe it yourself. Wiping your own data is the best option and there are software programs available that offer affordable and secure ways of doing this.
- Sledgehammer. Well, this might be the other option open to you is to remove the hard drive and take a sledge hammer to it.
For corporations, computer recycling usually costs money and if it doesn’t, the service most certainly involves resale for export, where information may be accessed on other continents- well outside the shores of your parent country and the laws that protect a company’s rights. Remember, if in doubt, ask. Look for a level of professionalism and a service from your chosen recycling company designed to ensure client retention.