For the individual, the beginning of a new year is an opportunity to make some wise resolutions. However, according to East Coast Electronics Recycling, organizations like businesses, hospitals, and schools should start the New Year with a different type of resolution: one that will help make 2021 and beyond become rewarding rather than unfortunate. The company insists on a 100% secure guarantee of data destruction when recycling electronic waste.
“Businesses of all sizes (including small businesses and startups) generate and store an astonishing amount of personal and sensitive data such as financial information, social security numbers, medical records, tax records, salary and personal data, contracts and proprietary research data, and so on,” commented one East Coast Electronics Recycling spokesman. “And contrary to what many people think, it’s not enough to just format hard drives and other storage devices that are intended for recycling.”
The problem with the formatting
The problem with formatting is easy to understand. The formatting is not intended to eliminate data. Instead, a hard drive – or some other storage medium such as a flash drive or SDHC – is prepared for reading and writing data. The operating system is removed, the device is tested for reliability, bad sectors are marked, and an internal table is created that is later used to find information.
“Unfortunately, so many companies forget that the word formatting isn’t about erasing or destroying, it’s about preparing,” said a spokesman for East Coast Electronics Recycling, headquartered in Shirley, MA. “The files on the device are not destroyed. They just can’t be found anymore. An analogy would be like tearing the table of contents off the front of a book or report. The information is still there but difficult to find. ”
Those who doubt this very inconvenient truth can, if they wish, purchase any number of commercially available products that will restore most (if not all) of information on a device that has only undergone high-level formatting.
As for the inconvenient truth, companies that fail to fully and properly wipe their obsolete hard drives and other storage devices before recycling are putting themselves in a world of ongoing financial damage. For example, in late 2020, Morgan Stanley was fined a whopping $ 60 million by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Comptroller of the Currency for repeated mistakes in adequately protecting customer data when disposing of old equipment. Granted, most businesses that improperly dispose of old servers, PCs, laptops, and the like don’t need to cash a check for $ 60 million. But at least they will suffer permanent reputational damage – which could be fatal in the long run.
“Some customers and customers will never forget and forgive an organization that has been ruthless with their personal and private information,” commented a spokesman for East Coast Electronics Recycling. “It doesn’t matter what the organization does. You can spend millions of dollars on publicity and branding. Once an organization is involved in a violation that it could and should have prevented, it may never be able to completely remove the stigma.”
How organizations can protect internal data
There’s a proven and compliant way for companies to stay away from this monstrous mistake: choose a leading electronics and computer recycling company that offers completely secure data destruction.
This goal must be supported by three pillars. The first pillar is physical security. Organizations need to know that the computer or laptop recycling facility their equipment is directed to is protected by surveillance cameras, on-site security guards, alarm systems, and other safeguards. Of course, all devices must be marked and added to the inventory for testing purposes.
The second pillar is that data destruction must be carried out using a military-grade data destruction process that is certified by the US Department of Defense and works regardless of BIOS, operating system or other technical restrictions. In most cases, this process will delete data that cannot be recovered.
The third pillar is that in cases where data cannot be completely and certifiably destroyed – which is rare but can happen – devices must be physically destroyed with a state-of-the-art paper shredder that crushes them (and theirs) with sheer force lying plates, mechanisms and electronic components) into tiny pieces.
“E-waste recycling is both socially and environmentally responsible,” commented a spokesman for East Coast Electronics Recycling, whose range of services includes secure data destruction, return of container programs, electronics recycling pick-up and electronics recycling collection. “However, it is important that companies choose a recycling partner who offers secure data destruction based on the pillars of physical security, data destruction and device destruction. Anything else, and chances are they will get very nasty calls from law enforcement, the media, and disgruntled customers. ”
The final result? Companies that want to get started right in 2021 should never take a risk with their data destruction. This means that device formatting is not an alternative and that choosing a reputable recycling partner with secure data destruction is the only viable and responsible choice.