DON’T BE A 20/20 INVESTIGATION

The last thing you want is to have David Muir ringing your doorbell because an employee left a laptop at Starbucks. This is how data breaches can start, and you are left holding what’s left of your reputation in a paper bag.

Did you ever consider how much information is on your cell phone, IPad and laptop? Think about all the hardware in your office that also contains sensitive data. What happens to it all when you upgrade your hardware? Are PCs stuffed into closets or are they donated without giving thought to the information on the hard drives? If you are part of a corporation or government office, one discarded, geriatric computer could mean utter destruction of your reputation and revenue.

Fortunately for us, there are measures we can take to make sure your data is safe after electronics have worn out their use.

“R2/RIOS™ certification is solely for electronics recyclers to demonstrate to customers that electronics equipment is being recycled with the highest standards for environmental protection, worker health and safety, and data privacy, and facility security. R2/RIOS™ is a combination of the Responsible Recycling (R2) Practices and the Recycling Industry Operating Standard™ (RIOS™).

R2 was developed by a broad-based cooperative of electronics recycling stakeholders that included the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), state governments, manufacturers, recyclers, trade groups and non-governmental organizations. RIOS™ is the sole program on the market that combines quality, environmental, health and safety requirements in a single management system.”*

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has also developed guidelines for data destruction and e-Waste security to protect your name from being added to this list.

NIST 800-88 Hard Drive Destruction/NIST 800-88 Data Destruction Guidelines: This document assists organizations in implementing proper and applicable techniques and controls for hard drive data disposal. Even the Internal Revenue Service follows the guidance set forth by NIST. Along with NIST, The National Security Agency (NSA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) also uphold strict regulations.

Compliance requires more than simply shredding or erasing hard drives. Proper reporting is required under NIST 800-88. The following information is only a portion of the guidelines set forth by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Wiping: “Wiping” a hard drive refers to using specialized software to purge a drive of all accessible data. The upside to this method is that the device is still usable after the process because nothing has affected the hardware.

The downside is that wiping software cannot be guaranteed. The process is lengthy, tedious and open to human error.

Degaussing: Degaussing involves a process where a hard drive is exposed to a high powered magnetic field which changes the alignment of the magnetic domain where the data is stored, thus “erasing” the data.

When functioning properly, the process can be effective. However this process is lengthy and also affected by human error.

Shredding: Shredding is the safest and the most secure option for data destruction because the hard drive or device is physically shredded into tiny particles.

The benefits of shredding? The process is fast and final. You can choose to watch it happen either in person or by video so you can be assured that all your items have been properly disposed. Afterwards, you will get a certificate of destruction.

Although there are different options for handling your data destruction needs, shredding is the only fail-safe solution to guarantee that your sensitive information never ends up in the wrong hands.

*R2/RIOS

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