The Real Dangers of Improper Hard Drive Disposal

Oct 30, 2023

In today’s digital age, data is an invaluable asset for businesses. Protecting sensitive information, both during its use and at the end of its lifespan, is crucial. Unfortunately, many companies overlook the importance of proper hard drive disposal, which can lead to devastating consequences.

The Immediate Concern: Data Breaches

One of the immediate concerns with improper hard drive disposal is the risk of a data breach. In 2022, the average cost of a data breach in the United States was a staggering $9.44 million. For small businesses, such an expense could be catastrophic. Legal liabilities and reputational damage resulting from a data breach only compound the issue.

But just how likely is it for confidential information to be retrieved from discarded hard drives? Surprisingly, the odds are greater than one might expect.

A Chilling Experiment: What $100 Can Buy

For less than $100, a team of engineers conducted a recent experiment where they acquired fourteen hard drives listed as available for parts. They checked each drive for whether the sellers had properly sanitized the devices before shipping them. The results were chilling. Out of the fourteen drives, only one had been properly sanitized, the remaining thirteen were not. Shockingly, they were able to recover data from seven of the unsanitized drives with minimal effort. If sanitization is not done correctly, malicious actors could easily gain access to financial statements, medical records, trade secrets, login credentials, and other critical data.

The Importance of Certified Partners

To protect your business from these chilling dangers, it’s crucial to follow best data destruction practices. Common methods include shredding to render data unrecoverable by tearing the platters into small, irregular pieces, or overwriting through full formatting or data erasure programs.

Luckily, third-party standards act as industry “watchdogs” to offer a uniform way to assess the practices of companies and help you identify credible service providers. Certifications address data destruction and security practices for hard drive shredding, wiping and secure handling. They also include environmental standards for proper recycling and disposal, along with regulatory compliance for worker health and safety and downstream chain-of-custody trails.

Certified Destruction in the Dakotas

Secure data destruction is not an avoidable cost; it’s an essential investment in your business’s security and reputation. Failing to implement proven disposal procedures could result in irreparable damage. This is where certified partners like SEAM comes in. Operating in South Dakota and North Dakota, SEAM is the sole certified data destruction provider in the Dakotas.  With industry certifications including R2, e-Stewards and NAID, our experts follow industry best practices to ensure that your sensitive data is beyond recovery.

Don’t let your business become a victim of data breaches and the associated consequences. Choose a certified IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) partner to protect your valuable assets and maintain your peace of mind.

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.