If You’re Not Shredding Hard Drives, Your Business Isn’t Compliant

A pile of hard disk drives isolated on a white background.You may be asking yourself, “How is that statement even possible?” It may seem ridiculous. After all, who hasn’t seen all the DIY advice for disposing of or destroying old hard drives?

Let’s quickly review some of the advice you may have seen or picked up from friends and colleagues.

Things You Can Do with Your Old Business Hard Drives

  1. Throw them in the break room trash can and bury them in food waste where they will be hidden from prying eyes and damaged by liquids.
  2. Store them on the shelf with all of your other abandoned and discarded drives and electronics.
  3. Delete the information on them.
  4. Donate them.
  5. Take them to your local recycling yard.
  6. Destroy them with a hammer, drill, or whatever tools you have on hand.

Legally-Compliant Things You Can Do with Your Old Business Hard Drives

  1. Shred your hard drives with a professional, reputable and compliant destruction company.

That’s right. That’s all. Here’s why.

Data privacy laws in the US state that any entity that collects, stores, uses and shares personally identifiable information (PII) is fully responsible for the protection of that information. If any amount of that information is seen, lost, or stolen, the responsible entity is legally liable and could face heavy fines and even imprisonment.

In most cases, they cannot be safely disposed of with the guarantee that the potential information on them is protected. Let’s address the six options above to see why:

  1. Despite burying hard drives in the trash, dumpster divers will go to almost any length to retrieve valuable information, and spaghetti sauce will be no deterrent. Your hard drives are potential gold mines to them. They have the capabilities, patience, and contacts to retrieved sensitive information from a discarded hard drive. Don’t assume that no one will go through your garbage or that it will remain safe on the journey from the dumpster to the landfill site. After all, some people dumpster dive for a living, and not always an honest living. It would be better to work with a NAID AAA Certified, local hard drive shredding company.
  2. When you hang on to your old hard drives and electronics, you are also hanging on to the information they contain. First, you risk the drives being stolen or lost, and that information is still your responsibility. Second, if the information on them has passed its retention period, your company is now non-compliant with data privacy laws. Having your hard drives shredded and electronics recycled by a reputable shredding company would solve both of these issues.
  3. Erasing your drive does not fully delete the information from electronic media such as hard drives, SSDs and thumb drives. To be confident that no information can be retrieved, have them destroyed by a hard drive shredding service.
  4. While donating your electronics or hard drives to an organization that could use them seems like an honorable thing to do, you will also be giving them the information they contain, breaking data privacy laws in the process. If you want to help a nonprofit organization, donate your time or money instead.
  5. Recycling is an admirable choice and great for the environment. If you drop your drives off at a recycler, the staff aren’t responsible to follow compliance rules and won’t protect your data. But you can have both recycling and data security! When you shred your hard drives with a reputable shredding company, they will protect your information and responsibly recycle the shredded materials.
  6. Taking on the destruction process yourself can be very risky. Even if you could be sure of completely destroying your hard drives, you risk the danger of physical harm to yourself. Also, a professional shredding company will also supply you with a Certificate of Destruction so you can prove your compliance with data privacy laws in case of an audit. You won’t get that when you DIY.

Apex Shredding will destroy your hard drives so that your company remains compliant. We are NAID AAA Certified so you know your hard drives and electronic media will be completely destroyed within a secure chain of custody. We also carry Downstream Data liability insurance to protect you and us in the unlikely event of a data breach. If you have questions or would like to schedule service, simply call us at 907-532-5007 or complete the form on this page. Our friendly shredding experts are here to create the perfect solution for you!

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