Why Businesses Must Comply with Data Disposal Regulations

May 17, 2019

Data security has probably always been a paramount concern to businesses. It’s hard to believe that the first credit cards appeared nearly 100 years ago, although credit cards as we know them today (bank credit cards) wouldn’t appear and start to gain traction until the late ‘50s/early 60’s. Even social security didn’t exist until 1935.

However, the steadily growing access to personal information such as SSNs and credit/bank account numbers has posed an ongoing problem for businesses. When your North Dakota business collects confidential consumer data in the course of conducting business, you have a legal and ethical obligation to keep it safe, and in this day and age, to dispose of it properly and in a timely manner in order to preserve consumer privacy. Why is it so important to comply with rules and regulations associated with data disposal?

Consumer Privacy
Your customers entrust their sensitive, personal data to you with the understanding that you’ll take steps to protect it against threats like identity theft that could have an enormous negative impact on their lives. Naturally, there are laws you must comply with to this effect, but you also want to do your best to protect consumers in order to ensure good customer relations and ongoing patronage, as well as maintain your reputation.

Environmental Protection
In addition to protecting consumers with proper data security and disposal, you have to make sure you comply with environmental protections related to IT asset disposition (ITAD). You can’t just chuck your old hard drives and cell phones in the trash when you no longer have use for them. These electronics often contain harmful, toxic components that can pollute the environment, which is why proper recycling and disposal is so important (and required by law).

Company Interests
When you don’t follow consumer privacy and environmental laws, you not only make your customers and the planet susceptible to harm, but you risk your very livelihood. Negligence will be rewarded with governmental penalties, for starters, but if you suffer data breach or identity theft, you could also face lawsuits and loss of business, revenue, and reputation. This obviously isn’t in the best interest of your company.

GDPR
Laws concerning data security and disposal are changing, as evidenced by the EU’s implementation of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) last year. If your business doesn’t have customers in the EU, you might not have paid much attention, but it looks like these heightened standards for consumer privacy protections are the way of the future, so it’s probably wise to familiarize yourself with the guidelines laid out in the GDPR and perhaps even try to meet those standards preemptively so you’re already on top of it should laws in other parts of the world follow suit.

Even in the U.S., some states are pushing legislation that mimics certain aspects of the GDPR, and it’s only a matter of time before similar upgrades to consumer protections start to affect your business operations. Getting out ahead of the push for increased security can only help to ensure your North Dakota business is prepared for this eventuality.

If you need assistance disposing of IT assets, contact the experts at SEAM, an ITAD certified service provider, today at 605-247-7326 (SEAM) or online to learn more.