Keeping it in-house

Nov 6, 2019 | Blog, The Art of Mitigating Risk in Data Destruction

In this series we will explore the various elements of Data Destruction and how risks in each step in the sanitization process can be mitigated. 

Data Erasure is one of the most important steps for organizations in every industry; this has exploded the need for skilled and knowledgeable professionals in ITAD and electronics recycling.  Most companies are aware of the importance of safeguarding the sanitization process, but most do not realize just how many ways there are to expose themselves to data breaches and data loss during the erasure or recycling processes. This means it is up to industry experts to provide this expertise and invaluable Data Security service.

If we start at the beginning of the process we see there are two avenues of action: destroy the data on hard drives (whether in servers, laptops, desktops, mobile devices…etc) in-house, within the safety and security of established safeguards within the business, or allow the sensitive data to leave the site to be destroyed at the ITAD or recyclers facilities. With over a decade in the industry, we have seen some incredible circumstances where, with even the highest levels of planning and care, data security was breached – and as often as not it is during transport. Granted, the likelihood is not great, however, given the sensitivity and value of the data in need of erasure, any amount of risk may not be worth the price of a breach. Our on-site data destruction team, based in the Minneapolis/St.Paul area of Minnesota, has been called in after a number of instances where either a vendor or client dropped the ball during a data center decommissioning, or a technology overhaul. What we discovered is that almost every instance of error, generally human, could have been mitigated by performing the sanitization of the hard drives at the client site, before removal.

All that makes humans wonderful and creative and ingenious, also makes us prone to error – intentional or otherwise.  What exacerbates the fact is the sheer number of levels within an organization responsible for various aspects of data and hardware management. These bureaucracies create blind spots (i.e. “I don’t know, not my department, not my problem…”). These blind spots are perfect opportunities for people to act maliciously, or in error… with the same result: data loss.

A simple mitigating factor can eliminate 99.99% of any possibility of error: perform the data destruction on-site. The good news is that often the cost difference between on site data destruction and off site sanitization is negligible.  Given that difference, compared to the risk of a data breach, it makes great sense, from both a fiscal and reputational vantage point, to wipe clean any PCs or servers in-house.

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