Nothing lasts forever. Even the most cutting-edge technology will eventually reach the end of its useful life. What was once the pride and joy of the office will become a clunky, slow computer that needs to be replaced. But we can’t simply toss old computers in the trash. To protect both the confidential data on the hard drive and the environment, it is important to follow proper procedure when disposing of an old computer.
The first step is to assess what is on the hard drive. It may contain a mix of information that needs to be preserved and information that should be destroyed. Some professions such as law and medicine have strict guidelines for how long they must keep records. But many businesses accumulate confidential data that needs to be securely destroyed. The bottom line is that, whether the information is saved elsewhere or not, any data on the hard drive must be destroyed.
The internet is full of hard disk destruction services and methods, but few of them are actually reliable. It is not as simple as that. Wiping software claims to overwrite the data with a series of random characters, but data recovery technology is growing more sophisticated every day. It can’t be easy to sleep thinking that, if data is recovered, the best defence on hand is a programme downloaded from the internet. Some people advocate DIY physical tactics as the best of the hard drive destruction methods, but this is dangerous, time-consuming, and unreliable. The cost of investing in safety gear and a drill to spend time drilling hole after hole in hard drives really isn’t worth it.
The bottom line is that businesses now have serious legal obligations to safeguard and securely dispose of their customers’, associates’ and employees’ sensitive, personal data. Like most important tasks with legal ramifications, the safest option is to engage professionals with the right experience and qualifications.
Any company offering hard drive destruction services should have certification that they are approved and operating to the highest standards. This would include certification from the National Standards Authority of Ireland, the National Association for Information Destruction and relevant waste disposal permits. But those are just the minimum.
For real peace of mind, look for a company that will come to your premises and destroy the hard drives there. That means there is no risk of them being lost or tampered with in transit. Nothing is as reassuring as seeing the hard drives shredded with your own eyes. A good hard drive destruction service will also offer a guarantee in the form of a certificate of destruction.
People place an enormous amount of trust in any company entrusted with their personal details, whether those details are medical, financial or personal. Every business must take this very seriously now with the GDPR in force.