Preventing Data Breaches Through Certified Data Destruction

Did you know that, in 2023, the average cost of a data breach has reached $4.45 million (up 15% from just three years ago)?

The truth is, if you don’t have proper data security practices in place for your IT Asset Disposition (ITAD), your organization could be the next to experience a data breach. That’s why it’s so important to understand how to protect your sensitive data…and that protection shouldn’t end when you retire your devices.

“An effective IT asset disposition program is a vital component in minimizing your risk of a data breach” said Bill Deliman of Homeboy Recycling. “Further,” he adds, “our financial and healthcare customers have a fiduciary duty to their customers and shareholders, and our credentials and certifications are why they choose us over other competitors.”  

Read on to learn how working with a certified electronics recycler like Homeboy for your ITAD needs is key to preventing data breaches from occurring.

Why Is Data Security So Important?

A data breach has the potential to not only ruin your company financially, but also destroy the trust you’ve built with your customers.

One high-profile data breach you may remember was the 2017 Equifax breach, where poor data security led to the theft of 143 million social security numbers, credit card numbers, and driver’s licenses.

This breach served as a prime example of the importance of maintaining robust data security measures, such as using strong passwords, keeping software updated, and protecting devices with firewalls, antimalware, and antivirus software. 

But data security shouldn’t end there. Even when your devices are no longer in use, you still need to protect your data from a breach. 

Improperly disposing of your used devices can put your data at risk…and cost you big. For example, in 2022, DISH network paid $5.5 million in a settlement for illegally disposing of electronic equipment and scrap metal at municipal landfills. 

And while that kind of payout can be crushing to any company, a data breach won’t only cost you financially. It can also permanently tarnish your brand’s image.

In other words, a single data breach could easily shutter your business. 

This is why it’s so important to prevent data breaches through strong cybersecurity practices, including the proper disposal of your end-of-life IT assets.

What Happens to Your Data When You Retire Your Devices? 

When IT assets are no longer useful, they’re often relegated to a storage closet where they sit indefinitely — or worse, they’re sent to a landfill. In either scenario, the chain of custody is broken, leaving your sensitive data exposed to a potential data breach.

Unfortunately, this is a common weak link in corporate cybersecurity plans.

To ensure the safety of your data, your cybersecurity policy should take into account all IT assets that have been retired. You need a clear plan in place to make sure your retired assets are properly recycled and the data they contain destroyed. 

What Is Data Destruction?

Data destruction is the process of completely removing data from a computer or other data-containing devices. This goes beyond simply deleting data from the device — it ensures the data is completely unrecoverable. And it’s the only way to make sure your data can’t be stolen.

There are three main ways data is destroyed:

  • Overwriting (or “Wiping”) destroys data while allowing the hard drive to be reused. This method includes a 100% verification pass. 
  • Hard Drive Shredding physically destroys the hard drive, typically shredding it to a width of 1.5” (HDDs) ⅜” (SSDs).
  • Degaussing removes data from magnetic media, rendering the hard drive inoperable.

Homeboy Electronics Recycling makes use of all these processes, and works to make data destruction easy and convenient for you. 

For example, with our onsite hard drive shredding services, you’re able to supervise the destruction of your data storage devices right at your facility. This is especially ideal for highly regulated industries or highly sensitive data. What’s more, our certified data destruction processes conform with the NIST SP 800-88-R1 Guidelines for Media Sanitization.

Using a Certified Electronics Recycling Vendor Keeps Your Data Secure

Another important aspect of data security is making sure your electronics recycling partner is certified. It’s important that the ITAD vendor you choose possesses the certifications from a third party that are required by your industry and/or your company’s cybersecurity policy. 

Unfortunately, this isn’t true of every e-waste recycler. Some choose to forgo certification, opting to keep costs low by disposing of electronics in ways that can leave your data vulnerable (and harm the environment).

With your data and your brand on the line, it’s important to ask potential vendors which security standards they implement throughout the data disposal process. Taking the time to do your due diligence will help ensure the security of your sensitive data.

When selecting an ITAD partner, it’s important to verify what credentials they are awarded. At Homeboy Electronics Recycling, we have these internationally-recognized third-party certifications:

  • R2v3, or Responsible Recycling, addresses the full scope of an electronic device’s life, from first use through end-of-life, and includes environmental, health and safety, quality, and data security standards.
  • ISO 14001 lays out criteria for an environmental management system and maps out a framework to set up an effective environmental management system.
  • ISO 45001 is focused on improving employee safety, reducing workplace risks, and creating better, safer working conditions.
  • ISO 9001 sets out the criteria for a quality management system and helps ensure customers get consistent, good-quality products and services.

These certifications guide us in maintaining high standards and continuously improving our Quality, Environmental, Health and Safety (QEHS) performance. If you want to avoid a costly and potentially devastating data breach, make sure your IT asset management plan includes a partnership with a reputable ITAD vendor like Homeboy.

Homeboy Electronics Recycling Makes Preventing Data Breaches Easy

Homeboy Electronics Recycling operates by the highest standards in the ITAD industry. When you entrust the recycling of your end-of-life IT assets to us, you can rest assured that your sensitive data will be secure until it is properly destroyed using our certified data destruction practices.

If your organization doesn’t have an effective established ITAD program in place, we’d love to talk with you about how we’re preventing data breaches and protecting brand reputations (and bottom lines!) for organizations throughout LA and beyond. Contact Bill Deliman today at 310-210-3420 to learn more.