Digital Transformation

Choose remote backup service before recycling old computers

Outgoing electrical equipment should be checked to make sure it no longer contains valuable data.

With more firms choosing to recycle their electrical goods instead of throwing them out, a remote backup service could be useful for storing important information.

Tony Neate, managing director of Get Safe Online and a member of e-Crime Wales steering group, explained that many business overlook the significance of protecting valuable data when it comes to the safe disposal of electrical waste.

"Hard drives store a wealth of information and in the wrong hands, this captured data could lead to any number of e-crimes being committed. Compromised data security can lead to loss of reputation for the company involved, commercial disadvantage or customers’ data being utilised to commit identity fraud – the potential damage is incalculable," he noted.

While it is good that more enterprises are turning towards greener business operations, they still need to establish and enforce acceptable use policies to keep their vital information safe. For some, this might include offsite backup storage, so they can delete the data on their old equipment and recycle it safe in the knowledge that their records are being kept for posterity but cannot fall into the wrong hands.

"Before taking any of those actions, IT teams or senior members of staff must erase all traces of applications and information from the machine before they dispose of old hardware," advised Mr Neate.

"When you delete a file on your computer it isn’t really deleted, it’s hidden. The information is still there until it gets physically overwritten, which only happens when your hard drive is over-capacity … it may be best to ask a trusted third party with the right knowledge and experience to complete this on your behalf," he added.

Mr Neate’s comments came after EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding claimed that 15-year-old legislation pertaining to data protection needs to be updated to stay relevant to the new age of cloud computing.