Our policy at My IT for dealing with Hard Drives is to either shred them, or to hand them back to our clients for them to decide how to personally dispose of them or to securely store them indefinitely.
So, why do we offer to shred hard drives?
Simply put, shredding your hard drives is the best way to avoid a security breach. In the IT industry, this process is known as Hard Drive Destruction (HDD).
Just throwing your hard drives away means risking someone finding it and accessing all the data on that drive including emails, invoices, proprietary data, and personal data. At first thought you might think no one would “dumpster dive” for your old, out of date, slow hard drive. But I bet you’d quickly think differently if you (and everyone else) knew that old hard drive you threw away had wads of hundred dollar bills wrapped all around it.
So, what do I mean by “wads of hundred dollar bills”? Right now, personal data is being sold online for $158 a record (Ponemon Institute). Therefore, a company with private data about their 65 past and present employees stored on a single hard drive that somehow got into the wrong hands would go for $10,270! Now that’s a wad of cash!
Now, imagine your company stored 10,000 customer records on an improperly disposed of hard drive; it would be worth $1.5 million to a thief! Do you still think someone wouldn’t go dumpster diving for your old hard drives! Medical records go for $355 a record, so that thief’s score jumps to $3.6 million? Ready to go dumpster diving for hard drives now?
You have options when decommissioning your hard drives, including erasing, degaussing, and crushing the hard drive. (See What Should You Do with Old Computers?) However, shredding hard drives is the best way to 100% guarantee the data is irretrievable.
Why Use Hard Drive Destruction (HDD) Services?
- Compliancy – HDD ensures your data can not be retrieved, which complies with HIPAA, PCI, SOCS, and many other data security compliances.
- Fines for Data Breaches – The Office of Civil Rights can fine a medical practice $50,000 for a single data breach.
- Bad Publicity from Data Breaches – Potentially worse than a hefty fine is the bad press from a data breach and creating a reputation for not taking care of customer’s private records.
- Protect the Environment – Instead of hard drives hitting the landfills, hard drive destruction companies shred the hard drives and the recycle the metal and other raw materials.
- Peace of Mind – With other methods of decommissioning hard drives, most clients don’t know if the work is done correctly. Shredding your hard drive is physical proof that your data is inaccessible and you can get a certificate to prove it, so you do not need to worry about your hard drive becoming the next data breach on the news.
What Devices Can Have Their Hard Drives Shredded?
- Computers & Laptops (Windows, Mac, or Linux)
- Backup Magnetic Tapes
- Mobile Phones
- Thumb Drives/ USB Sticks
Complete destruction is the best way to be 100% sure your company’s data is safe. That is why a good IT firm will offer a HDD service to their clients (or require it).