As the end of the year approaches, many businesses are looking to start the new year with a clean slate by cleaning out the old in order to make room for the new. For some this will include taking an inventory of all computer equipment that isn’t being used or is nearing end-of-life. The need for good security practices doesn’t go away just because a system has outlived it’s usefulness. Keep in mind the following tips when planning for your technology disposal.
1) Destroy the data
One of the biggest mistakes made when disposing of equipment that doesn’t function anymore is not wiping the hard drives before sending the equipment to the landfill. If there is sensitive company data on the hard drives, don’t trust that someone won’t be savvy enough to pull the drives from the defective equipment in order to access the data in other ways. Reformatting or re-partitioning a drive to erase the data stores isn’t sufficient – use a shred utility to delete the files or even better, encrypt the data on the drive before deleting so the information is even more difficult to recover.
2) Block Access
If the equipment is ready for decommission due to staff downsizing, be sure you eliminate access accounts associated with the decommissioned equipment if it isn’t going to be removed from the premises immediately. You don’t want an ex-employee to have access to his workstation after he’s been dismissed and you don’t want lingering network access accounts used to remotely connect to the computer either.
3) Keep good records
Develop a spreadsheet of items to be decommissioned and keep a running log of exactly where each machine is in the disposal process. This way you won’t overlook a step in the process and inadvertently dispose of a PC that hasn’t had the data wiped. Be sure to include model numbers, serial numbers, and inventory tag numbers so that your company assets can be properly updated by your financial services team.
4) Don’t let the decommissioning process linger
Don’t store the equipment in an unused room or closet waiting for weeks or months to be wiped and decommissioned. The longer the equipment lingers, the greater your risk that someone will help themselves to an unused PC and gain access to sensitive information they shouldn’t be privy to.
5) Find a reputable eCycling resource
Computers, monitors and other electronics contain toxic materials that can harm the environment and, according to the EPA, creates an estimated 70% of the toxins found in US landfills. A reputable eCycling resource will be responsible for effectively eliminating all data from recycled computer equipment and will provide a certificate verifying that the data has been removed, and documentation will be provided stating that equipment was disposed of in accordance with state and local laws.
6) Donate gently used equipment to those in need through The Launch Pad’s GreenBack™ Community Outreach Program
The Launch Pad has partnered with a Florida based, statewide IT asset disposition and electronics recycling (eCycling) service provider to provide a smooth and easy recycling service to Launch Pad clients during upgrades and equipment decommissions. In addition to facilitating eCycling services for clients, gently used PCs and other equipment can be recycled back into the community and made available to nonprofit organizations throughout the Bay area through our GreenBack™ Community Outreach Program. Nonprofits in need of tech donations create a wishlist on our website and we distribute equipment on a first come, first served basis. Businesses disposing of equipment can opt to designate equipment to be recycled to the local nonprofit of choice or the next in need on our list.
To learn more about how to participate in our GreenBack™ Community Outreach Program, contact Megan Meisner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 813 920 0788 x210.