Hard Drive Destruction

Know your risks and obligations. It’s not enough to wipe or erase your hard drive. Learn why information on retired computers must be properly destroyed?

It’s The Law
There are strict laws requiring you to prevent unauthorized access to the personal information on discarded computers.

Over the last 2 years alone, there has been in excess of $10,000,000 in fines for improperly discarding sensitive personal information, not to mention scores of embarrassing headlines.

Breach Notification
Legally required notification of clients when there is a data breach can cost tens of thousands of dollars and much, much more in lost customer confidence and future business.

You have an ethical obligation to your clients and stakeholders to properly destroy personal and proprietary information when discarding or transferring ownership of old computers.

THE SOLUTION: Using a Qualified Contractor

Why Outsource?
Information destruction methods for computers are best left to someone who knows what they are doing. Even professionals have to recheck their work with forensic systems to verify destruction. Self-administered procedures are far more likely to be ineffective. Further, authorities do not look kindly upon those who cut corners on information destruction.

The Most Important
When decommissioning old computers, your most important responsibility is to make sure you are dealing with a reputable company that puts information destruction first. A qualified contractor will help you determine if Sanitization, Secure Erase, Degaussing or Physical Destruction is the best process for any particular circumstance.

Finding Qualified Companies
Companies qualified to remove information from old computers with the assurance you need have some things in common.

  • They encourage you to visit their operation even when it’s unannounced
  • They effectively control unauthorized access to their facilities
  • They track the serial numbers on the computers and/or hard drives and have a complete physical and documented audit trail in place.
  • They have a documented quality control program to verify the effectiveness of the destruction process on an ongoing basis.
  • They have documentation that shows where they send the processed remains of the equipment.
  • They screen their employees and do not employ individuals with a known criminal history.
  • They issue a certificate that address the “who, where” when and how” of the destruction process.
  • They demonstrate their dedication to proper information destruction through certification in NAID

So you want to get rid of an old computer? You better not simply toss it in the trash! Sensitive data is stored deep inside your hard drive, and it is not tough for a computer-savvy criminal to get to it!

In addition to breaking any number of federal regulations for information disposal (more on that in a moment), you may also have given away your credit card numbers, bank account information, or Social Security number.

Data is amazingly durable. Even when you think you’ve thrown everything in the computer’s “trash”, all you have really done by using the recycling bin is disconnect your documents from the computer’s so-called directory. In other words, all the documents, spreadsheets and other personal information you “trashed” are still very much intact on your hard drive. And for a data thief, that’s incredibly easy to get.

According to the data security research form Poneman Institute, it’s not only important to safeguard your data, it’s cheap. Depending on the solution you choose, they estimate the cost of data theft prevention to be about 4% of what it will end up costing you if that data is stolen!

But have no fear! One easy solution is shredding.

Hard-Drive-ShreddingShredding your hard drive is just like shredding a bank statement document…it completely destroys it! Shredding is done by a professional who turns your hard drive into shrapnel. While extreme, shredding is highly effective. In fact, the Department of Defense and other security groups certify the process as the ultimate in data theft prevention. The cost will vary depending on the size of your drive or quantity.

Finally, keep this in mind: you must destroy personal data if your computer was used for business. Even if you’re a tiny home business owner with a few part-time employees, if you have Social Security numbers or credit card information in your computer, the government can fine you hundreds or even thousands of dollars for tossing other people’s information in the trash without properly zapping it.


On-Time Scheduled Service

Secure On-Site Shredding‘s scheduled service is the best option for organizations that care about protecting their information and reputation. Learn more » service-area