5 Reasons Why the Dumpster is a Security Hazard for Small Businesses

Whether you are fully aware of the ins and outs of consumer privacy laws or not, as a North Dakota small business owner, you certainly know they exist and that they’re intended to protect sensitive consumer data that could lead to identity theft if it falls into the wrong hands.  When your customers provide you with identifying information, including names, birthdates, location data, SSNs, financial accounts, and more, you have a legal and ethical obligation to protect it.

You might be tempted to save time and money by simply tossing old documents and hard drives in the trash – after all, who will know?  However, this is a huge mistake, as you’ll find if and when data is snatched by dumpster diving thieves and used for the purposes of data breach and/or identity theft.  Here are just a few reasons why your dumpster could pose a significant security hazard if you use it to dispose of data.

Dumpsters Aren’t Private

They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and it’s more than just a platitude when it comes to what your business throws in the trash.  While trespassing is illegal, trash left at the curb is essentially fair game, which means anyone can riffle through it.  Plus, some thieves aren’t deterred by the possibility of getting caught on your property, elbow-deep in trash.  In other words, you have no reasonable expectation that the trash you toss in the bin is secure or private.

Both Hard Copies and Digital Data are at Risk

It’s easy for dumpster divers to steal data on hard copies if you’re careless enough to throw it in the trash, but they’re also searching for hard drives.  Don’t give yourself a pat on the back because you deleted data – if you didn’t wipe drives properly, data could linger on your hard drives, and thieves can easily retrieve it and use it to hack your network or steal identities.

Thieves are More Sophisticated than You Think

So, you shredded hard copies and wiped your hard drives, but did you use an industrial shredder and complete multi-pass data wipes?  As a small business, you may not have the equipment or skill to properly destroy data on your own, but savvy thieves have the sophisticated equipment and programs needed to reconstitute and retrieve data, circumventing your efforts.

Privacy Laws are Very Specific

The law is not vague about how to handle data security and destruction.  When it comes to shredding documents and hard drives, there are rules about the types of shredders that must be used and even the acceptable size of paper remains following shredding.  You need to understand these rules in order to remain in compliance, and dumping data wholesale in the trash doesn’t come close.

Your Business and Your Customers Will Suffer

Ultimately, you’re the one who will suffer if data is stolen from your dumpsters.  If a data breach and/or identity theft occurs, you’ll have to inform authorities and customers, pay fines and possibly reparations, and deal with the loss of patronage, revenue, and reputation that inevitably follow.

When you work with a certified ITAD service provider like SEAM, you have the best opportunity to avoid the damage inherent to tossing data in the trash.  Contact SEAM today at 605-274-7326 (SEAM) or online to request a quote and learn more.

SEAM provides IT recycling and data destruction services including onsite shredding and hard drive wiping to South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska.

Schedule a pickup or contact us for more information.