Data breaches are not a threat of the past. This real and complex threat increasingly plagues companies that are amassing more data and retiring more IT equipment than ever before. The Ponemon Institute, a research institute focused on privacy and data security, released a 2017 study that shows the costs of data breaches rose for the past 4 years in the United States. While the majority of data breaches are related to malicious attacks on hardware, secure disposal of IT assets presents a critical point in data breach protection.
Impacts of a data breach
Data breaches can cause significant damage to your client relationships. According to Ponemon, more organizations worldwide are losing customers as the result of data breaches. While there are steps your company can take to prevent customer loss, having to respond to a data breach directs valuable resources away from the core mission of your organization.
From a legal standpoint, 48 states and many countries have data breach protection laws that require notification of security breaches involving personally identifiable information. Thus it is critical for both business and legal reasons to ensure that your used IT equipment is securely wiped or destroyed. With the right ITAD vendor, IT asset disposal presents a relatively straightforward way to close out the use of your IT assets securely.
A partner in logistics
Your ITAD vendor can function as a partner in ensuring proper safeguards are in place for IT assets that are ready for disposal. Critical questions for your company to evaluate include:
- How do we account for our used IT equipment before disposal?
- Will we erase or encrypt our data before passing equipment on to an ITAD company?
- Will HDDs be destroyed or can they be salvaged?
- What logistical safeguards are required for your company to transfer equipment to the ITAD vendor?
A good ITAD vendor can ease your security and logistics concerns by providing solutions for tracking individual equipment. A vendor that closely tracks each piece of equipment throughout the ITAD process will account for its status, whether destroyed or securely wiped, without commingling your equipment. Detailed tracking ensures data security and maximum resale value.
ITAD supports data security
You should look for an ITAD vendor that can provide customized answers to your logistical questions and a high level of detail about their data-wiping process. For instance, what standards are used to wipe hard disk drives? You should look for companies that are using NIST standards and multiple attempts at HDD wiping, instead of immediate destruction of problematic hard drives. Thorough screening and wiping of HDD to the industry standards meets the highest security requirements and offers you the best resale value.
Data security concerns follow your equipment from purchase through active use and finally disposal. Make sure you have an ITAD partner that focuses on the data security that you need and the resale value that you want.