Data Disposal

5 Tips for Secure Data Disposal

Unfortunately, most businesses only focus on keeping data safe when they’re sharing and storing it, disregarding proper data disposal at the end of its useful life. Proper data disposal not only protects your company’s confidential information but also that of your customers and other stakeholders. Here are some valuable tips for securely disposing of your data assets.

1. Enforce a data disposal policy.

To consistently dispose of data securely, you need the right policies in place. These policies will educate your employees on the best data disposal methods and help you cultivate a compliance culture in your organization. Your data disposal policies must reflect your organization's core values for accountability. Create, maintain, and enforce a policy that delegates and outlines best practices for the disposal and destruction work. The policy should indicate what to do with media devices you no longer need and describe conditions for updating your asset inventory lists. If you are not equipped to establish and enforce data disposition rules, partner with a third party that specializes in data disposal and provides proof that the data has been completely disposed of or destroyed.

2. Keep a data center decommissioning checklist.

Eventually, your IT equipment will no longer be effective or beneficial to your organization, and you’ll need to decommission it. Before you begin, your documentation practices should be up to speed. A data center decommission is ideal when replacing physical devices with cloud services for improved speed and efficiency. A decommissioning checklist will help you ensure a smooth transition. To avoid losing essential data in the process, engage relevant stakeholders and assign a diligent project manager to the task. You should also have a budget, a decommission timetable, and a detailed scope of work.

3. Digitize records.

Consider converting hard copies of documents into digital form. Document digitizing backs up critical hard copies and protects them for future use in easily retrievable electronic versions. Begin by gathering all important documents and sorting them by importance. You can use a scanner on your PC or mobile device to convert them into soft copies. Create file names for each scanned document and save them in folders for easy access.

4. Destroy digital data according to media type.

Since digital data is usually stored on various types of media, you must dispose of each type differently. Data destruction can include physical drive destruction and/or data wiping. Drive destruction must be appropriate for the media type used. Reliable, secure, and certified data wiping software can completely erase digital data from flash drives and hard drives. Degaussing, the process of destroying data by removing a device’s magnetism, is an ideal destruction technique for digital data stored on a backup tape or hard drive. Dismantling the device works best for data stored on a solid-state drive (SSD); however, shredding may be necessary to destroy the chips.

5. Hire a certified data destruction provider.

A data destruction service can ensure that all data in your media storage is completely erased. A high-security media destroyer is used for storage devices such as hard drives and SSDs, rendering the data unrecoverable. To prevent data breaches, make sure to evaluate the provider's background before hiring them, and ask for verification that the data was 100 percent destroyed after the job is complete. Make sure the service provider is NAID AAA certified; this organization helps verify secure data deconstruction providers and ensure their services comply with known data protection laws. Before handing over your IT equipment or data, you should also ask the vendor to sign a confidentiality agreement. These steps will help protect your reputation as you trust your company's data with a third party.

Secure data disposal is vital for any organization with data or IT equipment that's no longer useful. To be secure, the process must comply with industry-established standards. A data leak could result in identity theft, financial fraud, or loss of customer trust. LinkSource provides certified, state-of-the-art asset and e-waste management services for a wide range of clients. To learn more about what we do and find tips for optimizing your IT environment, subscribe to our blog!

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