How to safeguard sensitive enterprise data while replacing technology hardware

Posted by The Team at CXtec on Jul 1, 2022 2:36:41 AM

Today, most companies invest heavily in cybersecurity programs to secure the confidential business data stored on their IT...

Today, most companies invest heavily in cybersecurity programs to secure the confidential business data stored on their IT equipment. However, with the increasing network complexity and storage devices, you may fail to safeguard some specks of data in your organization's network. Therefore, it is vital to identify new ways of data protection for both active and retired IT assets. Inability to protect confidential customer and business data can result in hefty financial and reputational losses for your company. In fact, 85 percent of the customers don't prefer working with companies with poor data security practices, according to PwC.

The risks of data breaches increase when the IT equipment reaches the end of its life. At the disposal stage, businesses often neglect securing the data stored on their obsolete technology hardware. Whether you're looking to destroy, reuse, or recycle old IT assets, proper data sanitization is essential to avoid disclosing classified business information and stay compliant with various privacy regulations in your industry.

Let's look at some typical data security challenges that businesses encounter while replacing unwanted IT assets:

IT staff

Many businesses often don't realize that the biggest threat of a data breach comes from their employees handling the disposal of obsolete hardware. Until the old IT assets leave your facility for off-site disposal by a certified vendor, your staff manage them. While handling the IT equipment containing confidential business data, any of your employees with malicious intentions can steal it and prevent its reporting. They can also extract data from the storage devices and sell it to your rivals to generate financial profits and damage your business reputation.

Asset transportation

The risk of cargo theft increases when you choose off-site data destruction and sanitization services. Most companies neglect the transportation security after the old IT assets leave their premises for off-site disposal by a third-party vendor. It happens because most organizations are procurement-centric. After buying new equipment, you will immediately detect the shortfalls in ordered inventory. However, you probably won't give much attention even if one asset disappears during disposition.


Disposal policies

The absence of a well-structured asset disposal policy is among the key reasons why most businesses fail to protect their confidential data while selling old IT equipment. Having an up-to-date policy allows you to standardize your IT asset disposition (ITAD) activities by clearly outlining the roles and responsibilities of every stakeholder associated with them. For instance, you can formulate a data sanitization policy that instructs third-party vendors to wipe out data from retired storage devices in a compliant and secure way.

Asset traceability

Lack of end-to-end visibility and transparency during IT asset disposition makes it difficult for businesses to safeguard their sensitive data. Companies must maintain a fully auditable chain of custody to keep a tab on every entity or individual involved in data destruction. Despite this, most businesses fail to maintain detailed records of asset disposition, resulting in data breaches, legal penalties, and loss of reputation.

Top tips to secure sensitive business data during IT asset disposal

As discussed, businesses often overlook data security risks when they retire used IT assets. Besides maintaining data confidentiality, you must also control the disposition costs and avoid the wrongful scrapping of obsolete technology hardware.

Outlined below are some ways to secure sensitive data while disposing of old IT assets:

Formulate comprehensive equipment disposal policies

Consider formulating robust equipment disposal policies and procedures to secure classified business data, even if you outsource IT asset disposal. These policies should cover all the critical areas related to hardware end-of-life management, from secure data wiping to reverse logistics to environmentally-responsible recycling of unwanted IT assets. In addition, distribute these guidelines and policies among your employees and asset disposition partners, so they can adequately manage the data and equipment marked for disposal.

Wipe data securely and legitimately

Resetting or formatting devices to factory default is not an ideal option to erase confidential business data as it can be recovered by cybercriminals using advanced software. Therefore, adopt data erasure and destruction processes that are proven, legitimate, and secure. For storage devices with reuse or redeployment potential, ensure the data stored previously on them is professionally erased following the NIST and DoD standards. Moreover, ask for proof of data destruction if you're working with a professional ITAD partner to ensure accountability and legitimacy.

Enhance transportation security of surplus IT assets

IT asset tracking and lifecycle management play a crucial role in safeguarding your sensitive enterprise data. After sending IT equipment for off-site data eradication, track their location through RFID tags, unique barcodes, and web-based asset management systems to prevent asset theft and data breach incidents. In addition, deploy vehicles with integrated security systems to safely dispatch old IT assets to the disposal facility. Alternatively, you can team up with a professional ITAD service provider who offers secure packing and transportation services to enhance supply chain security during asset disposition.

Increase awareness among employees

Employees are often the weakest aspect of a company's information security strategy, and ITAD is no different. Poorly informed employees are often unaware of the financial, legal, and reputational repercussions associated with the improper disposal of old IT assets. Therefore, you must educate and train your employees to scrap retired technology hardware without negligence. In addition, familiarize the staff with your industry's data security laws and regulations through interactive methods like webinars and quizzes. When employees truly understand the consequences of improper data disposal, they are more likely to adhere to your information security policies and procedures.

Ensure used IT assets are properly shredded and recycled

Some end-of-life IT assets or components don't have any remarketing potential and are hazardous to the environment. Destroying or shredding such assets and recycling them is generally the best option to safeguard confidential business data and stay environmentally responsible. If you work with third-party ITAD service providers, ensure that they perform R2-compliant recycling and provide certificates of data destruction. Working with a certified vendor helps guarantee that your retired technology hardware doesn't end up getting dumped in a landfill illegally. Proper shredding or demolition of old storage media by qualified ITAD experts also minimizes the risk of data theft.

Why choose CXtec as your preferred data security services partner

Partnering with a professional ITAD services provider is generally the best option to completely wipe data from your retired IT assets before selling or recycling them. It also helps eliminate the risk of data retrieval from your obsolete technology hardware. Atlantix Global division, a certified and experienced ITAD service provider of CXtec has the right expertise and solutions to address all your data security needs.

Atlantix Global helps wipe data from your used IT assets thoroughly through our NIST and DoD-compliant MindSafe™ data sanitization services. Once the data is professionally erased, you can remarket or redeploy the used items and derive maximum value from them. In addition, we also help physically shred or demolish damaged hard drives and other storage media to prevent data theft. Our MindSafe security solutions also assist you to stay compliant with your industry's privacy regulations by offering certificates of data destruction and recycling. Moreover, we only work with R2-certified downstream partners to ensure that your used equipment is responsibly recycled.