Don’t Overlook the Importance of In-House Data Destruction

Before hiring a company for data destruction, carefully consider your goals and implications of a job that’s not done correctly. What does your company store on hard drives? What information is on your employee’s phones, tablets, laptops, and computers? What documents are printed on the computer? Every time technology advances, it adds to the long growing list of private data your company is responsible for.

What are you responsible for protecting? All of this can be valuable in the wrong hands.

  • Service providers, utilities, and retailers often store their customers’ credit/debit card and checking/savings account information.
  • Financial institutions and government agencies have contact information, birthdates, account numbers, names, and SSNs.
  • Medical and dental offices have health records, birthdates, contact information, and insurance card scans.
  • Employers store their workers’ confidential information like SSNs, contact information, and income information.

The news is full of breaches that have hit major companies throughout the nation. Each time, it leads to costly fines, lawsuits, and damage to the companies’ reputations. Can you afford that? If you’re dropping off unused electronics at a local store, charitable organization, or recycling depot, do you really know what happens to the item once it leaves your hands?

If you haven’t looked at in-house data destruction, you’re making a mistake. Data destruction can and should be done at your company in today’s changing world. Don’t take a risk. Here’s why you must look into in-house ITAD services the next time you upgrade your office equipment and electronic materials.

Examples of Breaches Caused by Improper Data Destruction Methods

Some breaches or losses are linked to simple mistakes. Have you heard about the Welsh IT worker who threw away a hard drive without realizing it was the hard drive he’d stored his cryptocurrency access key on? He allegedly lost around $500 million making that mistake.

Companies can make similar mistakes, but it’s not just money they lose. They can lose valuable private information belonging to their workers, contractors, and clientele. They damage their reputation, and some won’t recover after losing customers’ data.

IBM estimates the cost of a breach is now up to approximately $4 million. It’s estimated that six out of ten small- to mid-sized companies that experience data theft end up shutting down within six months of the breach or theft. For example, the cryptocurrency Livecoin closed down after being hacked in 2021.

The Identity Theft Research Center reported a 17% increase in data breaches during 2021. As some companies don’t come out and admit they’ve been breached, the numbers could be even higher. Ransomware, malicious software updates, stolen electronic devices, and hacks can all lead to these breaches. Disposing of your office electronics without properly destroying data is also risky. Here are some of the most significant breaches caused by improper data destruction.

Morgan Stanley’s Loss Due to Improperly Managed Data Center Decommissioning

Morgan Stanley is one of the more recent breaches caused by improper data destruction, and it’s the best example of why in-house data destruction is crucial. The company hired a vendor to wipe data during a data center decommissioning, but the vendor didn’t do the job correctly.

Drives within the servers were not shredded and ended up getting sold to a third-party recycler. The problem is that personal information from clients was found on the devices. As this was the second time this had happened with Morgan Stanley, they were fined $60 million.

Commonwealth Bank’s Lost Devices During a Data Destruction Job

This isn’t the first time a bank has lost customer information from improper data destruction. Australia’s Commonwealth Bank lost 20 million client files after a sub-contractor destroyed data on two magnetic storage devices improperly. Those tapes had client names, contact information, and account numbers for clients between 2000 and 2016.

How Data Destruction Is Handled

There are a few options when it comes to data destruction. Data can be eradicated using software that wipes information several times to ensure there’s no way to retrieve it. If the hard drive is damaged, software wipes don’t work. Instead, there’s a technique known as degaussing that’s better.

Degaussing uses magnets to render the information stored on hard drives and other storage devices that use magnetic storage techniques. Magnetic storage includes floppy disks, VHS cassettes, and reel-to-reel tapes. While floppy disks and tapes aren’t commonly used anymore, you might still have them tucked away in the back of a closet and need to have them destroyed. Degaussing is an effective way to do that.

Shredding is another option. Storage devices like hard drives, USB sticks, etc., are deposited in a large shredder that chops them into pieces. Shredding destroys them. The small fragments are then recycled, melted down, and reused by manufacturers to make new products.

What Happens With In-House Data Destruction?

If you feel more comfortable or require the security on-site data destruction and shredding offers, it’s an option with ERI. Our specialists travel to your office with the equipment needed to wipe data and shred the devices. You watch the physical destruction, get the data destruction certificate as proof, and know that the items never left your business until the data was destroyed. It offers an undeniable level of security.

Are There Other Options?

If in-house data destruction doesn’t work for you, there are other options. ERI offers secure transportation of your electronics to the closest facility. Receive real-time tracking information to ensure you know exactly where your materials are at any hour.

Before arranging for data destruction, look into the company you’re partnering with. Security Magazine reports there being around 3,000 electronic recyclers in the U.S., but only 10% of them are certified. If you’re not choosing a certified company, you could be making a major mistake. Specifically, look for companies that are certified through R2, NAID, and e-Stewards. ISO certifications are also important. ERI voluntarily holds all of those certifications.

Optech is our IT and electronic asset disposition software that gives you 24-hour real-time information from the moment we take possession of your devices and office equipment. In addition to tracking where your items are, you’re welcome to a report that shows your focus on being environmentally friendly while also being proactive about your clients’, workers’, and customers’ security.

We’re happy to arrange specialized services like high-level demilitarization or high-security services when needed. With this service, you escort your electronics into the facility and witness the data destruction.

ERI’s eight processing facilities have fenced and gated perimeters with metal detectors at entrances and exits. Guards are at the gates during business hours, but there is also 24/7 video surveillance through a third-party agency. At no time of the day or night is the facility unguarded. Plus, only authorized personnel are allowed in the data destruction areas.

What Happens With In-House Data Destruction?

Talk to ERI about your data destruction and ITAD needs. We have eight facilities across the U.S., so whether you decide to utilize our services through delivery with real-time tracking or have our data destruction experts come to your office, we have you covered. Call 1-800-ERI-DIRECT to discuss the level of e-recycling and data destruction you require.