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Are Your End-of-Life IT Assets a Data Security Threat?

by | Jun 5, 2018 | IT Security, News

Data security is a practice that companies both large and small tend to take very seriously in 2018. If companies had neglected data security in the past, the ongoing preparations for the implementation of the GDPR has made all business leaders and owners recognize its importance. Despite this, there is one aspect of data security that is often overlooked – IT asset disposal.

IT asset disposal (ITAD) entails the safe and responsible disposal of end of life IT assets. In many companies end of life assets are kept in storage, sold on or simply recycled. This practice can have serious consequences, as the data contained within these assets can prove to be a significant data security threat, even after the assets themselves have left your company.

The Threat

A few years ago, the Canadian Bank of Montreal suffered an embarrassing data breach when two of its discarded computers were found for sale on eBay, containing sensitive data customer data, including account numbers and balances. Around the same time, the former vice president of Morgan Stanley inadvertently revealed confidential internal emails and a company directory when he sold his old BlackBerry on eBay for $15.

These stories demonstrate the importance of implementing a thorough ITAD process, and of engaging a reputable ITAD vendor to dispose of your end of life IT assets. The reputational and financial risks for failing to dispose of your IT assets correctly are simply too great to cut corners.

Defining an ITAD Policy

The first step to reducing the threat that your end of life IT assets can pose to your business, is to implement an ITAD policy. An ITAD policy introduces standardised procedures for the handling of end of life assets, and ensures that they are disposed of safely.  Similar to a data governance policy, responsibility for your ITAD policy should be allocated to a designated employee, who is responsible for its upkeep and implementation. Your policy should be tested before implementation, and you should make sure that all relevant employees are aware of its existence, and educate them on the importance of complying with it.

Choosing the Right ITAD Partner

Perhaps the most important element in ensuring that your end of life assets are disposed of safely, and pose no data security risk to your company, is in engaging a reliable ITAD vendor to assist you in the IT asset disposal process. An industry accredited ITAD provider will be able to take responsibility for the security, storage, transit, recycling and auditing of your end of life IT assets, as well as ensuring that those assets are disposed of in line with all relevant environmental regulations. A detailed audit trail of the disposal process will also be provided, to ensure that your business isn’t exposed to the kind of embarrassment suffered by the Bank of Montreal!

With over 25 years industry experience, tier1 are proud to be the UK’s most accredited ITAD supplier. We possess the skills, accreditations and experience to handle our clients’ data with the care they deserve, and to dispose of it responsibility and legally.

Contact us today on 0161 777 1000 or visit https://www.tier1.com to find out how we can help you dispose of your data safely and reliably.

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