Technology has become a necessity in any business. Computers, copiers, printers, tablets, laptops, and more are all integrated components that keep a typical business running.
But to stay running effectively, that IT hardware needs to be replaced once it’s outdated. This can leave a company with a lot of old equipment piling up in the closet or with a risk of a breach if they haven’t properly prepared their hardware before disposal or donation.
With the optimum replacement cycle of a business computer at 3-4 years, hardware disposal can become a big problem fast. Especially, if you don’t know the best practices of properly cleaning computers and other devices of all data.
If not cleaned properly before being disposed of, an old computer can fall into the wrong hands and that person can retrieve data that you thought was deleted.
For example, if you simply delete data as the last thing that you do before donating or disposing of an older PC, a person could easily use a tool to retrieve any data that hadn’t been overwritten by new data. This could cause exposure of PII (personally identifiable information) and lead to compliance problems for your company.
Whether you’re donating old IT equipment or disposing of it, you need to ensure it’s completely cleaned of any data and that none can be recovered from its hard drive.
Steps to Take Before You Dispose of Your Old Computer
Hard Drive Image Backup
You want to ensure that everything, including email, applications, and settings are saved from your old PC before you dispose of it. The best way to do this is through a full image backup that will backup your files and everything else on your system, including your applications.
Once that’s complete, you can clean the old computer of data safely without worry about losing something important.
Log Out Of Everything
The use of cloud services that sync with your computer is common today. Devices can often be syncing with more than one service, such as Dropbox and OneDrive. Deleting your computer’s hard drive while still logged into these types of cloud services could cause files to be deleted from the cloud as well.
It’s important to log out of any cloud services, including browsers before wiping a device clean.
This includes logging out of your Wi-Fi and removing any saved Wi-Fi passwords that the device may have stored.
Delete All Files and Programs
Next, you want to delete everything from your computer. Files, folders, and applications. Make sure to also empty the recycle bin.
You can do a factory reset on systems that have that option to do a quick deletion of everything you’ve added since the computer was first purchased. However, it’s important to know that your data is still on the hard drive. There is another important step to take once this initial deletion has been done to remove any recoverable traces of data.
Overwrite & Wipe the Hard Drive
There are special hard drive wiping programs that will overwrite a hard drive with a series of 1’s and 0’s and then wipe the drive, overwrite, and wipe again. This is done multiple times to ensure that all traces of your data are completely gone and can’t be recovered using a file recovery tool.
If your computer is being destroyed and not reused, then you’ll also want to take the step of physically destroying the hard drive to ensure any data is irrecoverable.
Have Your Device Verified as Cleaned of Data
It’s best to have an IT professional look over your device to ensure all data is completely removed and it cannot be retrieved before you take the final step of either donating or disposing of your equipment.
You can save yourself a lot of time by working with C Solutions. We’ll take away your old hardware, ensure it’s completely wiped, and destroy old hard drives. We handle everything you need to feel secure that your old equipment won’t come back to haunt you.
Did You Know There are Data Disposal Laws?
Thirty-five states, D.C. and Puerto Rico all have laws governing the requirements for proper disposal of business data to ensure PII isn’t exposed. The FTC also has a similar rule related to the disposal of information in consumer records.
So, if you haven’t ensured your old computer is properly wiped and disposed of, you could be facing some stiff penalties if there is a resulting breach of the data on that device.
Call Us to Pick Up & Dispose Of Your Old IT Hardware
C Solutions can help your Orlando area business ensure your old hardware is properly disposed of and you’re not left at risk of a compliance or security breach.
Schedule a free consultation today! Call 407-536-8381 or reach us online.