How To Securely Dispose of Old Devices

How To Securely Dispose of Old Devices

There comes a time when every corporate laptop reaches the end of its life. If your computer has stopped working altogether, it can be tempting to throw it in the trash can, but this is a huge security risk. 

The Identity Theft Resource Center reported 78 data compromises in 2020 relating to “physical attacks”. 52% of these attacks occurred from device theft and improper disposal.

This means that if you don’t wipe your device before you dispose of it, hackers could break into the hard drive and steal all the data on it, including passwords, credit card information, personal details, and more. 

The good news is that this threat is straightforward to mitigate. With a few simple steps, you can ensure that your old devices aren’t a security risk. Here is what you need to do: 

1. Backup the data on your device 

Before you dispose of your device, you want to make sure that all of your files, information, and data will be accessible from the next device you use. We recommend backing up your data in the cloud so that it is easy to access from multiple devices. Options to consider include iCloud, Google Drive, and One Drive.

If you’re not sure what solution would be best for you or your employees, speak to your IT support team, who will be happy to advise you.

As well as backing up your files, we recommend that you de-authorize programs like Adobe Creative Suite, iTunes, and other software that only allows your account authorization on a certain number of devices. 

2. Destroy the data on your device

Once your data is backed up, it’s time to delete all the information that’s saved onto your hard drive. Note this is not the same as simply deleting your files. When you do this, you’re deleting the path to the file, but the file itself still remains on your device’s memory. 

To completely erase your data, you need to truly destroy the information. There are multiple ways in which you can do this. Some people choose to physically destroy their hard drives, but this can get a little messy.

We, therefore, advocate that you use data wiping or data destruction software. This software works by eradicating all the information on your device, effectively wiping clean.

While there are free tools online that offer this functionality, we recommend that you take all corporate devices to a sanitation professional, who can triple-check that your device is properly wiped before you dispose of it. 

3. Safely dispose of your laptop 

Last but not least is the actual disposal of your laptop. Throwing your computer in a trash can isn’t a great idea. Your hardware contains toxic substances like mercy and lead, so you need to dispose of it safely. 

Worryingly, E-waste is the fastest-growing element of the world’s domestic waste stream, according to a report by the UN’s Global E-waste Monitor. Disposing of your devices correctly is essential to protecting the planet.

However, it can be challenging to know what ‘safe’ disposal looks like. The good news is that a qualified IT services provider can take care of the whole process for you too. They will go beyond wiping the device to safely disposing of it, so you can focus on running your business. 

Moreover, depending on the condition of your laptop, they could recycle or resell parts of the laptop for you, giving you a sum of money that you can use towards a new device. 

If your laptop is working well, another option is to donate the device to a local charity so that you can help underserved communities access technology. However, be aware that it’s best not to donate devices that the manufacturer no longer supports. This is because unsupported devices will not receive security updates.

Take care when disposing of your devices

Ultimately, while disposing of old devices can seem like a bit of a hassle, doing so correctly is essential to adequate security – as well as protecting the environment. Your devices are a treasure trove of sensitive corporate data. If this information gets into the wrong hands, it could lead to a data breach and compliance fines. 

By working with qualified experts, you can make disposing of your devices as easy as 1, 2, 3. 

Recycle your old laptops with confidence!  

Supporting desktops and laptops can be pretty complicated and time-consuming. Your business likely requires experts in the field who can handle any issues that occur but also need your support team to be knowledgeable in supporting your specific applications and environment. 

You need real people you can trust, and you can trust B-Comp Services.

Contact us today for a consultation. Call at 303-282-4934 or contact us online.