Data Destruction: Why Chain of Custody is So Important

Mar 21, 2020

With the advent of digital data, storing information has become much more convenient.  However, there seems to be a common misconception that digital storage is boundless, and this is hardly the case.  Unless you want to find yourself paying ever more to store outdated, irrelevant, or redundant data, you’ll quickly see why data destruction is so important.

Of course, whether you have data in hard copy or digital format, you need to take precautions to ensure that your disposal practices are just as secure as your storage policies.  This means putting a strict chain of custody in place to minimize risks of data theft or accidental loss.  Why is this so important for your South Dakota business?

Legal Compliance

There’s no shortage of laws related to protecting sensitive consumer information, from federal, state, and local privacy laws, to industry-specific regulations like HIPAA, FACTA, GLBA, and more.  As a business owner, you have a legal and ethical obligation to secure any confidential data entrusted to your company by consumers, whether it’s names and address, SSNs, or financial account information.

Failure to properly manage your chain of custody when it comes to data destruction could result not only in catastrophes like data breach or identity theft, but subsequent damages from government penalties, lawsuits, and of course, loss of revenue, clientele, and reputation.

In other words, it pays to comply with existing laws and protect sensitive data accordingly, whether it’s stored or slated for destruction.

Protecting Your Customers

Keeping consumer data secure is certainly a matter of legal compliance, but you also have an ethical responsibility to protect your customers when you ask them to provide your business with data that could be used to steal their identities.  If you collect any identifying information, from names, addresses, and birth dates, to SSNs and financial account numbers, you need to take pains to keep it private, whether you’re using and storing it or disposing of it.

What will happen if you don’t?  If you suffer a data breach or identity theft occurs due to some negligence on your part, you are likely be required by law to inform authorities and consumers.  This alone could be enough to drive consumers away, impacting patronage and revenue, but if customers suffer losses related to such incidents, you could find yourself facing lawsuits as well.  It’s in your best interest, as well as in theirs, to do all you can to keep consumer data safe.

Protecting Your Company

Ultimately, you are the one who will suffer if your chain of custody is inadequate, resulting in compromised data that leads to data breach or identity theft.  A major data breach could destroy a business, small or large, so you need to take every possible precaution to minimize risks.  This includes destroying outdated or otherwise unneeded data on a schedule, as well as creating a secure chain of custody for data destruction and IT asset disposition.

One of the best ways to ensure compliance and peace of mind is to partner with a certified ITAD service provider for transparent, auditable data destruction.  To learn more, contact SEAM today at 605-274-7326 (SEAM) or online to request a quote.

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.