Ensuring Cybersecurity and Proper Data Erasure as Part of IT Asset Disposition

Posted by The Team at CXtec on Jun 22, 2023 5:27:09 AM

Data breaches are on the rise, and one significant contributor is the improper disposal of IT assets. When organizations fail to...

Data breaches are on the rise, and one significant contributor is the improper disposal of IT assets. When organizations fail to securely dispose of their outdated or decommissioned IT equipment, such as storage & networking devices, computers, laptops, etc., sensitive data can fall into the wrong hands, leading to severe consequences.

In 2022, there were 1,802 reported instances of data compromises in the United States. These incidents had a significant impact, affecting over 422 million individuals throughout the year. The scope of these compromises included various forms of data breaches, leakage, and exposure. 

Secure IT asset disposition (ITAD) is crucial for safeguarding sensitive information and maintaining data privacy. Organizations can significantly reduce the risk of data exposure by ensuring the proper destruction or sanitization of data-bearing devices. Secure IT asset disposal practices mitigate potential legal liabilities and build trust with customers and stakeholders.

Key Benefits of Secure and Responsible IT Asset Disposition

Secure IT asset disposition encompasses the appropriate handling, management, and disposal of retired or decommissioned IT assets like computers, servers, networking devices, laptops, and mobile devices. This involves adhering to industry best practices and complying with applicable regulations to minimize the potential risks of data breaches and unauthorized access. Secure IT asset disposition poses several benefits:


  • Safeguarding confidential, sensitive information: Protecting valuable information, including critical customer records, financial data, and personal proprietary information, is vital for preventing unwanted access. Implementing data erasure measures guarantees permanently removing all data from retired IT assets.
  • Preventing data breach concerns:  The average data breach cost increased by 2.6% to $4.35 million in 2022 from $ 4. 24 million dollars in 2021. In addition to financial loss,  data breaches can lead to severe business disruption and brand damage. Implementing robust data erasure protocols helps minimize the risk of data breaches during IT asset disposition.
  • Compliance with data protection regulations: Implementing thorough data erasure practices per industry-recognized data destruction standards such as NIST SP 800-88 or DoD 5220.22-M is crucial in minimizing the risk of non-compliance penalties. It also helps comply with established data protection regulations, including HIPAA and CCPA.  Failure to comply with data protection regulations can result in fines and legal consequences. 
  • Fighting identity theft: If not adequately erased, personal information stored on retired IT assets can be a breeding ground for identity thieves. Secure data erasure ensures that personal information is completely wiped, protecting individuals from identity theft.
  • Maintaining customer trust: Businesses cultivate customer trust and elevate their reputation by showcasing a dedication to safeguarding data security and privacy. By implementing robust IT asset disposition (ITAD) practices, organizations reassure customers that their valuable information is treated with care and responsibility.
  • Fostering environmental responsibility: IT asset disposition also involves properly disposing and recycling electronic devices. By securely erasing data before recycling, organizations contribute to environmental sustainability and prevent unauthorized data access from discarded devices.

Protecting Sensitive Information with Data Erasure Techniques and Practices

Engaging certified ITAD providers with expertise in data erasure and cybersecurity ensures that the highest standards are followed. Certified providers employ industry-leading tools and techniques to ensure secure data erasure and compliance with regulatory requirements.

The following methods and practices are commonly utilized:

  • Cryptographic erasure: Cryptographic erasure employs robust encryption algorithms to safeguard sensitive data. Encryption transforms data into an unreadable format that can only be decoded using the correct encryption key. By encrypting data before disposal, ITAD providers guarantee that the data remains inaccessible and indecipherable if storage media falls into unauthorized hands.
  • Data overwriting: It is a systematic technique that replaces the existing information on storage devices with new data patterns. It involves multiple passes of overwriting, utilizing specialized algorithms to guarantee the thorough removal of the original data. The number of passes and the specific pattern used are determined based on industry guidelines and the level of data security required. 
  • Degaussing: In some instances, ITAD providers employ degaussing as a method mainly used for magnetic storage media. It entails subjecting the media to a strong magnetic field that neutralizes its magnetic properties. Degaussing wipes the media clean by erasing the magnetic patterns that hold the data, ensuring that the data cannot be recovered. This technique is highly effective for hard drives, tapes, and other magnetic media.
  • Physical destruction: When data erasure is not possible or practical, physical destruction of devices guarantees complete data erasure. This involves shredding the storage media into small pieces, crushing it, or disassembling the devices. Physical destruction ensures that the components containing data are irreversibly damaged, preventing any possibility of data recovery. 
  • Secure Transportation: Secure Transportation involves the safe and controlled movement of retired assets from the organization's premises to authorized ITAD facilities. This process aims to minimize the risk of loss, theft, or unauthorized access to sensitive data during transit. It includes implementing robust protocols and safeguards, such as tamper-evident seals, GPS tracking, and secure vehicles, to ensure the integrity and confidentiality of the transported assets.
  • Chain of Custody: Maintaining a well-documented chain of custody is critical to secure IT asset disposal. It involves carefully tracking the movement and handling of retired assets from the moment they leave your organization's premises until their final disposition. By establishing a robust chain of custody, every step of the disposal process is documented, ensuring transparency and mitigating the risk of data breaches.

Empowering Your Data Disposal Journey with CXtec

Partnering with a reliable IT asset disposal company can ensure your old IT equipment is securely and responsibly scrapped. With over four decades of experience in the ITAD industry, Atlantix Global, a division of CXtec, provides comprehensive support throughout the entire decommissioning process, from asset de-installation and physical destruction to secure data wiping and disposal. 

Our MindSafe™  data sanitization services are available across the globe to wipe or shred your sensitive data. MindSafe™ complies with DoD and NIST standards and includes comprehensive reporting, data destruction certificates, and chain of possession documents. At CXtec, we prioritize industry compliance and hold the necessary certifications, including R2V3, SOX, GLBA, HIPAA, ISO 14001:2015, and more, to validate our ITAD and data security solutions.

Contact us to explore how we can assist you with your IT asset disposal requirements.