In your company, you take steps to protect the sensitive information that only you and your colleagues should see. Billing information, personal information and transcripts can all be dangerous if they fall into the wrong hands. So you shred paper documents and dispose of them properly.
But what about when it’s time to upgrade computers or replace a hard drive? Every document or spreadsheet you’ve ever created, saved or forwarded is still on your hard drive. As with a paper file, hard drives must be completely destroyed when they are no longer needed.
Even if you clean up the hard drive (for example, delete the documents) on old computers and erase folders and files, an experienced hacker can still retrieve those files and discover proprietary information. Even after a file is supposedly “deleted”, large amounts of data and information may remain on the hard drive. Fragments of data, such as bank details or personal identity, can be put together in the same way that a thief could assemble large pieces of paper. The discovery of this information can lead to problems for you, your company or even your customers.
The fastest and easiest way to protect your personal data on an old drive from possible theft is through complete destruction. Destruction does not mean that you destroy your computer (or even the hard drive) with a hammer. There are machines that will grind them, disks or flash drives until they are completely destroyed (and unreadable), making data retrieval impossible. With a professional, this process takes a minimal amount of time and you can rest assured that all sensitive information will be destroyed.
Unlike the ubiquitous office shredder, these types of machines are not easily accessible for purchase by the general public. But many recycling centers or paper shredding companies also offer destruction of specialty materials, such as computer drives (and disks and thumb drives).
While destroying the hard drive lowers the resale value of your old computer (s), the security and peace of mind that comes from knowing that your confidential files and resources will not fall into the wrong hands far outweigh the costs. You have too much to lose in order not to destroy old files that are deleted. Choose to protect the safety of your business, your customers and your employees by professionally destroying your old hard drives.