Growing Risk with Used Equipment

Apr 2, 2018

Data breaches are on the rise and many companies are concerned about the safety of their IT equipment when they’re finished using it. According to a recent survey conducted in the UK, about 69% of respondents admitted to having concerns about their data being breached in the recycling process and were likely to keep hold of it instead.

With electronics being replaced at a rapid pace, these stockpiles continue to grow. Tech firm Gartner found that in 2016 alone, an estimated 1.9 billion cell phones were sold worldwide, that’s nearly one for every four people alive. By storing data-filled equipment, the risk is not managed, it’s just being prolonged.

Security Risk of Offline Equipment

In 2017, the number of data breaches in the US hit a record high, up 45% year over year. Most breaches were caused as a result of hacking, but a notable percentage were caused by improper disposal (10.4%). This category also included employee error, negligence and loss of laptops or other storage devices. These mistakes can easily happen in the breakdown of a security policy – especially when old equipment is being stored.

The Business sector topped the breach list again for the third year in a row, Medical/Healthcare came in second, followed by the Banking/Credit/Financial sector, then Educational and Government/Military.

Information at Risk

As for what information is at the greatest risk, criminals are looking for information they can use or sell. Credit card numbers have become less valuable over time due to their abundance on the dark web. Social Security numbers are now worth much more because you can do so much with them. New accounts can be opened, tax fraud can be committed, government benefits can be applied for, and medical treatment can even be received. Social Security Numbers are also not easily closed like a credit card account, they last forever.

The types of records with the most value are usually those that contain Social Security Numbers, along with birth dates and other information that can be used to steal an identity- this puts health records at the top of the “want-list” as they contain all of the above.

Cost of a Breach

The average cost of a data breach has also hit a record high, now at $7.35 million according to the 2017 Cost of a Data Breach Report. Each compromised record has an average cost of $225, but that number jumps depending on the industry and regulations surrounding it (i.e. $380 in Healthcare or $336 in Financial Services).

Costs include legal fees, notification, staff and monitoring services, along with loss of business with customers deciding to go elsewhere.

What Should You Do

Any time an organization goes for convenience over security, they are putting themselves, their employees, and their customers at risk. As a responsible business, a data security policy should be put in place and strictly enforced. When devices are ready to come offline, they should be handled immediately to address the security issues first hand and prevent a looming data breach.

Choose a security company who can responsibly destroy all data and recycle or reuse the remaining equipment to keep you in compliance and get the most value back out of your computer equipment.

As the only certified electronics recycler and reseller in the Dakotas, companies rely on SEAM to handle their end of life IT equipment securely, safely and efficiently. Contact us for a quote on how to keep your business electronics protected.

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.