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Preventing Your Data from Ending up in a Landfill or Worse

Every so often, you end up having to replace the technology in your business. Computers, hard drives and backup tapes have to replaced and disposed of. But doing so in a secure and environmentally-friendly manner can be a challenge.

E-Waste Concerns

E-waste is an ever-increasing ecological problem. According to the Earth Day Network, over 50 million tons of e-waste is produced each year in the United States alone. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that e-waste is the fastest growing municipal waste stream in America. The toxic lead found in e-waste has a devastating impact on our environment, eventually ending up in the air, in our waterways, in our food and in our bodies. Businesses play a significant role in e-waste generation due to the need to replace broken, old or outdated devices with new technology. Because of the need to upgrade, the following items are often discarded in the trash:

  • Computers
  • Hard drives
  • Backup tapes
  • Mobile devices

In addition to contributing to a global environmental crisis, this problem that can have a measurable impact on the local community in which your business operates.

Threats to Privacy

Improper disposal of electronic equipment also poses serious privacy protection risks. The data contained on discarded hard drives and backup tapes often contains sensitive and confidential data. Problems arise when devices are “erased” and then discarded of. What we think of as erasing a hard drive of data doesn’t fully guarantee that confidential information will not be retrievable; there may still be traceable data left behind that could be access by the wrong individual.

A breach of your corporate data can have numerous and serious impacts on your business. If the data breach contains personally identifiable information belonging to clients or employees, lawsuits will almost surely follow. There are likely to be significant breach notification costs. Not to mention that any damage to your company’s reputation is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Regulatory compliance is also a concern. Complete information destruction is required by the following laws:

  • Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLB)
  • Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX)
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
  • Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA)

Failure to properly adhere to consumer privacy protection by providing adequate destruction may result in penalties or fines.

How to Dispose of Corporate Data

Your corporate data disposal program should combine privacy protection with environmentally-sound practices. Best practices for the disposal of electronic media include a process of:

  • Degaussing
  • Eradication
  • Delamination
  • Physical destruction

Degaussing and eradication involves erasing data stored on media with servo tracks. Delamination is the process of separating the data-bearing material from the disk, thus destroying the magnetic field. These processes eliminate any possibility of compromised data. After media has been completely destroyed, the right provider can ensure that all material is recycled in an environmentally-friendly manner.

Records Management Center provides businesses throughout Augusta, Evans, Thomson, and Martinez, GA, Aiken, SC and the Central Savannah River Area with professional shredding and destruction solutions. To find out more, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.