How to prevent your Sarasota business from giving away sensitive information on outdated devices
Technology’s always changing, and equipment upgrades are significant and common events in the life of a business. But just because your Sarasota company is getting rid of clunky, outdated components doesn’t mean they don’t have value—especially to data and identity thieves.
Discarded equipment can be a boon for those who seek troves of classified information about your company and its employees. Even if a unit is broken beyond repair, it’s still possible for experienced hackers to extract data from it. How can your Sarasota business be safer about protecting that confidential data from getting into the wrong hands?
Take full account of your business’s data storage and disposal setup by asking these questions of yourself and your employees:
Even the least technically-inclined employees at most companies know that old hard drives, outdated cell phones, and paper documentation are often filled with sensitive data and need to be comprehensively destroyed; it’s not enough to just toss them in company garbage cans.
But other items are less obvious. Even copiers and fax machines that have been out of circulation for 20 years could still have private contact info and documents. You’d be surprised at what sensitive data enterprising thieves can retrieve from relics of bygone tech. Account for every single digital device in your Sarasota office, whether it’s operable or not.
Most Sarasota companies still keep paper trails: bank records, employee files, legal documents, business outlines, and other hard copies that can paint a complete picture of your company and staff. Those are obvious candidates for the shredder.
But other equipment that can hold vital data isn’t so clearly detectable. Outdated employee badges, expired credit cards, magnetic tape, micro-cassettes, even ancient devices like Dictaphones can all be mined for private information. Make sure they’re on your checklist too.
Recycling is a positive thing for a lot of reasons—but not when it comes to disposal of business electronics that store data. Even the most conscientious, well-run recycling program, whether it’s a public or private enterprise, doesn’t eliminate all the vital information from the hard drives and technology they take in.
You can’t simply leave old tech out for the garbage company to haul away, of course. But recycling of those items leaves your company’s privileged information out in the open. Make total destruction of discarded tech devices, so they can’t be accessed at all, part of your business’s data elimination policy.
The best shredding and data elimination outfits are always open about their operations. The only ones you should employ have been verified as “AAA” Certified Companies by the National Association for Information Destruction (NAID). NAID-approved businesses have all gone through the association’s strict vetting procedures, and only the most reliable, thorough, and professional shredding companies get certified.
The company that performs your data and equipment destruction should be completely transparent about what they do—and your company’s representatives should be fully informed about their process at every step. How do they secure material that hasn’t been shredded yet? What are the exact phases that occur in data destruction? How long does it take? The company you hire will be too happy to answer all those questions.
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