Myths About Data Destruction

What do you know about data destruction? Businesses must plan for how to destroy the data stored on their electronic devices once the assets are no longer needed. Regrettably, many businesses do not understand the importance of planning for their data destruction, which leaves sensitive information at risk of being hacked. It’s possible that these businesses may not understand the importance of data destruction because they have fallen for one of the many myths circulating about this topic. Below, learn the truth behind the most common data destruction myths.

Myth: Erasing A Hard Drive Will Get Rid of the Data

Many people who don’t know much about this field may think that erasing the data or deleting the files on a hard drive are effective data destruction methods. But, this is not the case. You may not be able to recover the data once you’ve erased or deleted it, but other people with more IT experience will have no problem doing so. If you want to ensure that the data on a hard drive cannot be recreated, this is not the best method.

Myth: Hackers Only Go After Big Businesses

Every business should have an IT asset management strategy in place that outlines how data will be destroyed when an asset is retired. If you don’t have a strategy in place, it’s possible that hackers could access your sensitive data. Unfortunately, many small businesses make the mistake of assuming that hackers only target large, well-known businesses. The truth is that hackers attack businesses of all sizes. In fact, earlier this year it was announced that hackers had successfully breached half of all small businesses in the U.S. Hackers often target small businesses because they know that these are the companies that don’t have the budgets to hire IT security firms, so the data will be easier to access. Therefore, it’s important for small businesses to think about how they are protecting their data, especially during its destruction.

Myth: Businesses Should Keep Old IT Assets On-Site

Some businesses think that the best way to protect the data on the IT assets they no longer use is to keep these assets on-site. These businesses may have a locked room where they pile old computers and hard drives from the floor to the ceiling, thinking that this is enough to keep their data safe. But, this is not a good strategy because the data still exists, meaning it can still be stolen. The only way to protect this data from falling into the wrong hands is to destroy it—stacking old IT assets in a hidden closet is not an effective strategy.

Myth: My Business’s Data Isn’t Valuable Enough to Steal

You may feel comfortable getting rid of your old IT assets without worrying about data destruction because you think there’s nothing valuable on your hard drives. If you run a small business that only serves your community, it’s easy to see why you would think this, but you’re mistaken. You never know what is hidden on your hard drive. It’s very likely that you’ve forgotten about the information that you’ve stored on your hard drive. If nothing else, all of your passwords are probably on your hard drive, which means someone could easily gain access to your accounts to retrieve more valuable information if you don’t destroy your data.

Myth: Your Business Can Handle Data Destruction

You may not see the value in hiring someone to destroy the data on your old IT assets, but it’s important to understand why you need to work with a third party instead of doing this in-house. Why? You may be know the best way to destroy data so that it cannot be recovered. Even if you do know that overwriting the data, degaussing, and physically destroying the device are effective, you probably don’t have the resources to handle this without outside help. Overwriting the data multiple times to ensure it can no longer be accessed requires skill, and degaussing the device requires special equipment. Plus, physically destroying IT assets is dangerous because of the toxic substances that are released when these items are broken down. Don’t put yourself—or your company’s data—in danger by trying to destroy data on your own.

Myth: The Asset Disposal Company is Liable For Data Breaches

If you do choose to work with a third party, don’t make the mistake of thinking that you are no longer liable for whatever happens to the data once its in their possession. As a business, it is your responsibility to ensure that you choose a reputable and reliable data destruction company that will protect your data until it has been completely destroyed. You also need to work with a company that provides you with proof that the data was actually destroyed.

What happens if you don’t? Many companies found this out the hard way in 2014, when they trusted an e-waste recycler located in Utah. The Stone Castle Recycling site was found abandoned with over 7,500 tons of electronic waste and residue left behind. Clearly, this e-waste recycler was not properly disposing of the IT assets or the data stored on them. If you accidentally hire an irresponsible company like this, your business’s reputation will suffer and you could face financial penalties if the data is stolen.

Now that you know the truth behind these common myths, it’s time to find an e-waste recycler that will take care of your data destruction needs. At ERI, we consider ourselves to be the experts on data destruction. If you have questions about how we can help you securely destroy your data, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. For more information, or to request a quote from ERI, contact us today.