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Dos and Don’ts of Secure Hard Drive Disposal

Destruction seems like a pretty simple process—render something unusable by breaking it. When it comes to hard drive destruction and data disposal, however, there can be a surprising amount of room for error.

Just because you destroy old hard drives doesn’t mean their data can’t be retrieved and used against you. Data disposal goes beyond wiping files, smashing a hard drive, and throwing it away. To protect the security of your information there are data destruction guidelines you should follow the next time you need to get rid of old hardware.

DON’T throw old computers and hard drives away.

Even if you’ve successfully wiped and possibly destroyed your out of date technology, it’s not a good idea to place it at the curb.  Computers and other electronics contain toxic substances which pose a serious risk to the environment. When e-waste lands in the garbage and ultimately the landfill it impacts the earth’s air, soil, and water.

Additionally, looks can be deceiving.  Something that is no longer valuable to you, might be attractive to someone else.  Risking your personal security by placing an item in the trash is reckless.  If someone sees a discarded phone or computer and decides to power it up your information could be inadvertently exposed.

In summary, computers and other e-waste should be properly recycled to limit the damage to the environment as well as your privacy. Once the data is destroyed some equipment can be refurbished and reused while other components are simply broken down and recycled. Accredited electronic recycling vendors are equipped to assist you in disposal practices that keep everyone safe.

DO backup all of your files

If you’re getting rid of a hard drive (or two), you’re likely upgrading your technology. And since most of us have been through this before we know it’s a process.  There are undoubtedly files you need to transfer and contacts you need to export.  The list of things you backup, delete, and export may be lengthy.  Identifying what you want to keep and deleting what you don’t is the first step.

Once you are certain everything you want to keep is backed up, overwrite, or wipe your old drives. Overwritten or deleted files are still accessible by scammers, but clearing the drives is a good precaution to take. It doesn’t eliminate the last step of destruction, but it’s an additional layer of protection in the process.

DO hire a data destruction partner.

Data destruction and security are complicated processes, and your business probably isn’t equipped to handle this in house.  You have your own job to do, and that’s where a trusted data destruction partner comes in handy.

Companies like DataShield are professionals at security, data destruction, and electronic disposal. We have standard procedures you can trust and secure processes to ensure outdated electronics are disposed of correctly. 

DON’T try to destroy old hard drives yourself.

If you smash a hard drive with a hammer or drill holes in it, you may think it’s safe from data thieves. It may be more difficult for thieves to glean information from a hard drive you smashed, but it’s not impossible—plus, destroying each of your old pieces of tech by hand is time-consuming.

At DataShield, we shred hard drives to irretrievable bits. We remove any chance that a data thief could obtain information from your old drives. That kind of peace of mind saves time and worry. To learn more about the variety of security and data destruction services we offer at DataShield, contact us today.


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