End of Lease Hard Drive Data Makes Digital Theft Easy

Aug 12, 2019

As a responsible North Dakota business owner, you’re no doubt aware of privacy laws designed to protect consumers. If you accept confidential, personal data from customers, you are required by law to secure it against theft.

This starts with preventive measure like firewalls, antivirus programs, and password protection designed to keep hackers out of your network, but many businesses also implement secondary protections like encryption, just in case data is somehow accessed. While these digital efforts go a long way toward protecting data on devices while they’re in use, they may not suffice when devices themselves are no longer in your possession.

What happens when leased hardware reaches the end of its tenure and must be returned? What if you can’t trust the provider to fully destroy data on devices?

Potential Problem Areas
Leasing hardware may save you money over buying outright, especially if you like to update equipment and devices frequently, but you’ll end up spending significantly more if data is compromised through breach and identities are stolen as a result. The problem lies in entrusting sensitive data to outsiders.

If returned devices are not handled properly, the risk of data breach can be high. Whether secure transport or storage is an issue, or devices undergo a subpar wiping process, confidential data could be stolen. This is bad news for your company, as could result in government penalties for failure to comply with applicable consumer privacy laws. Even worse, you may face lawsuits, decline in patronage, and loss of revenue and reputation.

Secure Wiping
For owned equipment and devices, the easiest and most secure means of IT asset disposition (ITAD) is shredding, in keeping with applicable privacy laws, and possibly industry regulations like HIPAA or FACTA, depending on your business. This probably isn’t an option for leased hard drives, which have to be returned, so you’ll have to wipe them instead.

Secure wiping involves a multi-stage process, including several passes of overwriting data with zeros, or junk data. This will eliminate all confidential data previously stored on devices so that there is no chance of retrieval.

Of course, you will need programs designed for this task, as well as professionals that have the knowledge and experience to ensure success and legal compliance. If you don’t have an IT department, or even an IT specialist on your payroll, this proposition could be a non-starter. What can you do to securely dispose of data? Partner with reliable professionals that can get the job done for you.

An ITAD Partner that Ensures Compliance
The right certified ITAD service provider can do more than just shred your hard drives. They can also pick up hard drives and safely transport them to a secure facility for wiping. You can check progress through a 24/7 client portal, designed for transparency, and ensure that devices are being properly wiped, in keeping with privacy laws and industry standards, before they are returned to the leasing company.

If you’re worried about the potential for data theft as a result of turning over hard drives when a lease period ends, contact the professionals at SEAM today at 605-274-7326 (SEAM) or online to learn more about wiping services for your North Dakota business.