Proton Data Security

Proton Data is the world's leading manufacturer of data security products

The case against outsourcing IT asset disposition

The case against outsourcing IT asset disposition


At some point in time, every organization needs to get rid of old hard disk drives, flash drives or other electronics that once stored confidential information.

Potential dangers lurking
This seems like an easy enough task, right? Just find an IT asset disposition company, bundle up your devices and hand them over to the delivery person. But would you treat your old electronics in the same way you would, say, your own financial records or credit cards?

Even though garbage collectors will come take your trash and transport it to an off-site facility, otherwise known as a garbage dump, you never throw away a debit or credit card—or really any other personal information—without first cutting it up, correct? This is to provide some semblance of assurance that your information won’t be stolen.

What’s the difference between the aforementioned and handing over all of your company’s electronics that store hundreds of thousands of client records?

The thing is, IT asset disposition organizations don’t have as much at stake as you do. Should a laptop go missing that once held electronic health records, it’s your business that’s held liable under the penalties of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, not the company you trusted to safely and securely recycle your hard disk drives and other devices. In a sense, what was once seen as the cheap way out of doing things could become the most expensive decision your company has ever made.

You wouldn’t throw away your credit cards without cutting them up first, why not do the same with computers?

Take responsibility into your own hands
It’s time to take control of your data breach protection program. According to a report by Verizon, IT asset disposal mishaps, coupled with physical theft and loss, accounted for 20 percent of all data breaches in 2014. They’re lesser known, but equally dangerous forms of hacking, and all it takes is a little know-how and the right software for criminals to get information off of an abandoned laptop.

Organizations that are serious about secure IT asset disposition often invest in a heavy-duty degausser, like the T-4. Smaller businesses may test the water with the Proton 1100 wand degausser. Either way, businesses are taking more stock in securely erasing data from old, retired electronics. The only method approved by the National Security Agency is degaussing, which demagnetizes a hard disk drive to the point it’s unusable and therefore unreadable.

Software wipes are a common pivot for many organizations that don’t take the threat of physical hacking seriously, but all those programs do is scramble the information on a hard drive. This means if criminals can get ahold of it, they have an excellent shot at unearthing whatever data was once kept on it.

By placing your old electronics in someone else’s hands, you’re relinquishing control over the situation. Don’t suffer at a data breach and pay the toll at someone else’s expense. Contact us today to see why degaussing is right for your organization’s IT asset disposition strategy.

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