Managing the Risks of Data at Rest

Jul 19, 2022

More than ever before, companies are aware of the importance of keeping information secure. However, some companies focus too much on data in transit, which moves back and forth over networks, rather than data at rest, including information stored in a single location. Every device your company uses has a vast amount of data at rest within it, and whether you realize it or not, it can pose a severe security risk, especially when it comes to proper disposal of this data.

Data at Rest and IT Asset Disposal

Today, any device used to conduct business likely stores a large amount of data, much of it unseen by the user. Information is retained and organized to make the device more user-friendly. A silent hazard is introduced when you replace the initial device with a new one, as the older device likely still retains some information.

While it’s possible for you to erase some of the data on these devices, unless you’re familiar with finding hidden data, that device remains a risk. Finding an IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) company that will do the job completely isn’t guaranteed, either. Not all ITAD companies are created equal, and evaluations are typically based on a company’s ability to destroy hard drives, not find hidden information.

The Impact of Improper Handling for Data at Rest

A number of recent security breaches have resulted from companies that overlooked crucial data at rest. In 2013, for instance, the popular retailer Target was infiltrated through their air conditioning systems. Masquerading as HVAC companies, hackers acquired IP addresses for stores, which granted them access to Target’s financial records.

It’s surprising how such an innocuous oversight, specifically the IP addresses used to control air conditioners, could lead to such big problems. But that’s precisely the kind of risk that data at rest poses. Even the smallest security lapse can lead to big problems when it comes to sensitive data.

The Growth of Data at Rest

As technology continues to progress, there will be more and more potential for data at rest to be exposed. More intelligent technology means products are more responsive to users, but in order to rely on that intelligence, we must be as vigilant as possible in regard to potential breaches.

This is especially true in ITAD. When materials are disposed of, any data that remains on a device becomes a potential security risk. Attempting to erase or destroy a hard drive seems like an obvious solution, but without the proper training in ITAD, there’s a good chance that a treasure trove of data will remain on the device, waiting to be accessed.

Finding a certified ITAD company that you can trust will provide you with peace of mind, knowing that any data at rest on your devices will be found and erased. This not only protects your sensitive information—it helps to keep you from facing costly impacts further down the road.

Contact SEAM today to learn how you can properly dispose of or recycle your devices. Based in Sioux Falls, SEAM serves both South Dakota and North Dakota’s ITAD needs.

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.