Unfortunately we live in an age where cyber terrorists and online hackers target companies and individuals to gain access to personal info in order to commit identity theft, insurance fraud and more. Gone are the days when paper was the only material you had to properly dispose of. Data found on old hard drives must be properly protected and disposed of. Simply throwing away hard drives without proper destruction could leave your business (and clients) at considerable risk.
Destroying hard drives is not an easy task. In fact, many individuals and businesses are not properly destroying and disposing of hard drives that contain confidential information. Here are three common mistakes made when it comes to hard drive destruction:
- DIY Hard Drive Destruction
If you think the old “hammer to the hard drive” method of destruction is sufficient think again. Physically destroying a hard drive only makes some of the data inaccessible. There are plenty of individuals out there capable of recovering information for damaged hard drives. In fact you can even find many legitimate businesses who are devoted to information recovery on damaged hard drives. If they can do it you know the bad guys can too.
- Believing Deleting Files is Good Enough
Destroying information on a hard drive isn’t as easy as simply clicking the delete button. In fact, simply deleting a file does not mean it is really erased. It continues to exist on your hard drive even after you empty your recycle bin. If you are not careful, simply deleting the files on your old hard drive and throwing it in the trash will leave you open to some major security breaches. If you have confidential documents on your computer it is best to let the professionals wipe the hard drive and properly dispose of it to ensure personal data cannot be recovered.
- Failing to Comply with Industry Standards
If your business handles client’s personal information, chances are there are certain protocols you need to follow in order to protect yourself (and your clients) from identity fraud nightmares. Key industry laws and regulations include specific government legislation outlined under HIPAA and FACTA. For example, HIPAA privacy rules require all data destruction to be documented and stored permanently. Failing to follow these procedures can result not only in identity theft, but costly lawsuits. Make sure you are protecting yourself and your clients by following the proper protocols.