Data Security: Keep Data Secure Even After Discarding The Hardware

Brian Smith

You may know that some people, referred to euphemistically as “dumpster divers,” search through garbage for items they find useful/valuable.  But did you know that some dumpster divers are much more sophisticated and focused on harvesting data stored on discarded hard drives, full workstations, old mainframe tapes, and now cell phones?  With everyone seemingly worried about hackers on the wild internet, we forget about this other security risk.  And it is real.  These sophisticated dumpster divers can recover data from such discarded items.

You may play it safe and delete the data before discarding, but is it really gone?  The short answer is, not really.  Your data can be recovered enough to compromise sensitive business information, customer information, employee records, etc.  Sanitizing the data storage can help.  But sometimes a hard drive fails, for example, and if this happens you should destroy the device.  This may seem like overkill but it’s better to be certain the data can’t be recovered.

Alternatively, you could engage the services of a data sanitizing company to handle the job for you securely.  As with any third party contractor, make sure the company is trust worthy and provides a digital certificate of destruction.

Other tips:

Upgrading/replacing a server?  If you’re replacing an old server with TD products on it and plan to discard that server after getting the new server up and running, always remember to sanitize the data storage devices before recycling.

Trading in your old smart phone for the nice new one!  Make sure you sanitize the data first.  Who knows where it goes, venders most likely won’t properly clear your personnel data.

Old laptop collecting dust!  Did you know you can remove the hard drive and reuse it?  They make great USB backup storage.

Bad hard drives & thumb drives!  It can be a wonderful stress release smashing them with a hammer!  Always remember to wear safety glasses.