Getting rid of old computers in the office is a lot more complicated than it looks. The hard drives of these PCs are a treasure trove of information that identity thieves can retrieve if not disposed of properly.
Deleting all the files won’t do you any good, however. It holds true primarily since the Protection of Personal Information Act has been implemented. Destroying old hard drives won’t meet the standards of the Act. Even factory reset encryption won’t make any difference.
Non-compliant old PCs are a disaster waiting to happen
Identity thieves are always on the lookout for a way to access company data. Some are even willing to pay a hefty price for one employee to remove the hard drives so that they can hand it over to them. The old computer hard drives stuck in your office could very well be worth millions to someone who’ll use it for their means.
All these criminal syndicates only want the information stored in your hard drives. Most are particularly looking for information about a company’s insurance and financial assets. Getting services for electronics recycling in Boston is the best way to get rid of all your electronic waste without putting your company at risk.
Understanding your computer hard drives
The best way to understand the risk involved in storing your old PCs is to learn as much as you can about your hard drives. Often, computers hold crucial personal and financial data. These include passwords, license keys, account numbers and tax returns.
Every time you save a file, the system scatters it in your entire hard drive in several pieces. Every time you open it, the hard drive collects the scattered pieces of information and rebuilds them. So, deleting a file doesn’t mean the entire data completely disappears.
The bits and pieces of the deleted file stay in your hard drive, which can put you at risk, especially if an expert thief can get a hold of it. The Federal Trade Commission says that to obliterate the data, you need to wipe all the hard drive clean.
How to solve the problem
Certain companies such as Xperien have a list of the refurbished and old computer devices that are acquiescent with the PoPI Act. The company uses various specialized tools such as Blancco to erase all the data from the system.
Experts either do it on site or remove the hard drive under strict supervision for off-site handling. Once the experts have erased all data, the client company receives a PoPI-compliant certificate. Aside from the document, they’ll also accept a financial return for its old equipment.
Storing your old computers won’t do you any good. So, it’s best to either donate your old PCs or recycle them instead. Several computer manufacturers have built-in programs to help recycle computers and their components.
Keep in mind that most computer equipment have hazardous parts that would only increase the toxicity level of the landfill. It’s best that you ask your local sanitation agency to know how to dispose of electronic devices.