09 Mar Do you know the importance of wiping hard drives when you recycle IT equipment?
Would you throw a piece of paper containing your customers’ bank details and addresses into the general waste?
Would you put papers with your employees’ national insurance numbers into an ordinary rubbish bin?
The answer’s obviously no.
Every business owner knows they must comply with the Data Protection Act when it comes to dealing with these details – and if they don’t, they could face a stiff fine.
So, when it comes to recycling old computers and smartphones, why would you not ensure the hard drive is completely wiped?
Most people wrongly believe that deleting files from your desktop or laptop computers will mean they cannot be retrieved.
That isn’t the case.
The files are still on those devices somewhere. They’re just hidden from view.
All you’ve done by deleting these items is remove the site map to find them.
Data recovery software can find them and the information contained in them.
This information could fall into the hands of unscrupulous people who could use it to defraud or steal from your customers and employees. Or, they could be out to ruin the reputation of your business.
The financial cost could be substantial.
What’s the importance of wiping your hard drives? It’s of vital importance.
What’s the difference when I erase a file?
This is when a special program permanently wipes or scrubs a file.
For one file, you’d tend to shred it – using a program which overwrites the contents with binary code.
When you wipe a whole hard drive, that means you erase everything on it and anything you have deleted previously.
Don’t be fooled into thinking a factory reset or a reformatting will do the trick. They tend to be the equivalent of deleting files, rather than erasing them.
How can I wipe the hard drive securely?
There are products like SafeErase and DBan which will wipe your PC hard drive with one wipe. Anyone using the computer afterwards will have to install all of their own software as a result.
On Macs with mechanical hard drives, you can put it into Recovery Mode then use Disk Utility – an application on all Macs – to wipe the hard drive.
It can be trickier to wipe the hard drive on smartphones. A factory reset won’t wipe the drives on Android phones and tablets unless you encrypt the storage first, then erase it and restore the factory settings.
Should I call in the experts?
Yes – if you want your sensitive information to be dealt with securely, hire a company like Inspire Waste Management with a long track record in dealing with top companies and their confidential waste.
Our expert staff understand our clients’ need to be legally compliant and to deal with sensitive information in a secure way.