The “Internet of Things” (IoT) is the next big thing in terms of movements within the digital world. By 2020 the data from embedded systems alone is estimated to rise from 3-4 percent (currently) to 10 percent1. Whether the files are small or large, or saved automatically or manually, the sheer volume of data being stored is transferred to more devices than ever before. But not only is the data being transferred to more devices in more ways, the hardware itself is evolving and is currently smaller than it has ever been.
Over the past few years these technology innovations have begun to reveal an impact on the electronic waste and recycling industry. Previously there was much less data stored in this equipment so security wasn’t as much of an issue. Today however, shocking and detrimental data theft incidents have now positioned security as a primary concern for businesses to keep data protected and ensure business continuity. Therefore, the electronics recycling industry has now shifted to become more of an all-encompassing IT asset disposition (ITAD) industry where items are no longer recycled in bulk, but rather analyzed one by one for data security and reuse potential. [bctt tweet=”The e-recycling industry has now shifted to become more of an all-encompassing ITAD industry”]
This changing landscape has caused most ITAD companies to accommodate this demand and adjust their processes accordingly. Services have been expanded to include hard drive data destruction options such as wiping, purging or shredding and facilities have increased their security features to ensure client equipment will not go missing upon arrival.
While there are many legitimate ITAD vendors it’s important to select your partner wisely to ensure you’re protecting yourself. You can start with the following considerations.
Understand the Risks
Make sure you understand the consequences of improper disposition. Irresponsible disposition of electronic devices can result in data breaches and can damage your reputation, result in financial and legislative penalties, staff terminations and has the potential to put executives and others at risk of civil or criminal prosecution. [bctt tweet=”Irresponsible disposition of electronic devices can result in data breaches”]
Consider all Devices
Any internet-connected device is at risk of being hijacked. However, interestingly enough a Ponemon study disclosed that seven out of ten data breaches come from equipment while off the network2. While this does not discount efforts to keep internet-connected devices protected, it does imply that all devices should be considered no matter the connectivity.
Enforce Proactive Steps for Data Protection
Obviously it’s always best to be proactive in these situations rather than risk suffering the consequences. Selecting the right vendor is the first part and while the task can be cumbersome, this downloadable RFP template can provide you with a strong head start. The next step would be implementing policies and procedures to ensure all staff is aware of how they are expected to manage their retired equipment. If these tasks can be done effectively, you should be on the right path to ensuring the secure and responsible disposition of your IT assets.
For more information on how to avoid a data breach during IT asset disposition, check out our complimentary white paper!