Data breaches, thievery, and identity theft. Privacy online is at more risk than arguably ever before. Every purchase and form you fill out online, you are trusting a service to encrypt and protect your personal information. Sometimes, your personal information is in the hands of your employer. Even companies that you think would have secure protection have fallen victim to, like Facebook having 29,000 employees’ banking data stolen back in 2019. The reason for that theft? Facebook did not have secure hard disk disposal. The hard drives were unencrypted and were able to be taken by simply breaking into a car.
Things like banking data, your credit card numbers, driver’s license information, and even your social security number all can be used for identity theft with information recovered from a hard drive. So, how can you protect yourself? Destroy your hard drive securely.
Use On-Site Document Destruction
Let’s be honest. A lot of you probably feel better about anything you hear if you see it with your own eyes. People can tell you and assure you that your items will be properly taken care of, but seeing it done yourself can give you that extra assurance. There are several reasons why this is a preferable option to destroy your hard drives. The main one is keeping an eye on your own belongings.
Would you feel confident about potentially sending hundreds of thousands of people’s personal information or confidential company information to somewhere you don’t know and people you don’t know? Most of you probably would not be fully comfortable with that. Working with people on-site not only allows you to destroy your hard drive safely with professionals but also securely with visual proof that every item you need to be destroyed is taken care of. It is important not only to have trust in the process but also to make sure that nothing gets lost due to negligence. Doing both successfully will definitely minimize the risk of any possible identity theft.
Properly Cleaning Your Hard Drive
This situation is especially important for more personal use and you are looking to sell your computer and/or hard drives to make a few extra bucks. Right? Well…not so fast.
This study alarmingly revealed that 60% of the people that tried to sell used hard drives did not properly clean out the hard drive before selling it to the next person. Identity thieves LOVE this, and it is handed on a silver platter. Think about the information that could be there like passwords to confidential accounts that really open up the rabbit hole for identity thieves. Those can lead to those credit cards, forms filled out online, potentially even tax information, and your social security number!
There are a lot of people out there that probably would not think twice about handing over a hard drive with that kind of information still on it. Unfortunately, some of those people may have learned the hard way why it is important to clean your hard drive. In this case, one option can be using specific software to wipe your hard drive completely and for insurance, potentially using a screwdriver to dismantle it. But, most of the time, it is better and safer to just destroy the hard drive completely. What can happen if you do not do it securely though?
Open to a Civil Lawsuit
We have already explained what could happen to your personal computer and personal information if a hard drive disk disposal is not done securely. But, what about companies? What do they face? The answer is not only the potential loss of trust from their employees and customers if they put their information at risk, but also even potentially a civil lawsuit. One of the biggest recent examples of this was from the Equifax Data Breach in September of 2017. This data breach compromised the information of 147 million people.
In January of 2020, it was announced that Equifax had a $425 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission to try to help the possible victims of identity theft due to that breach. Obviously, this is an extreme example in a huge company. Nevertheless, if you have a company that is responsible for your employees’ and/or customers’ sensitive personal information, you can be held liable if it gets compromised. While it is true that not every instance of this is deemed a company’s fault, negligence or poor security measures can become potential factors to liability. On top of that, it could be difficult to get people to rely on you with securing their information again or even do business with you.
Secure Hard Disk Disposal?
So, now that you know the risks of not taking care of personal and/or company information, the question becomes, how to destroy vulnerable personal information on hard drives securely? The answer is to use a shredding service. You can work with professionals who do this daily vs. you and your company likely doing this for the first time.
You can eliminate the risk of not properly going through everything trying to destroy hard drives and documents in-house, getting it stolen via transit, or anything getting lost or compromised at an off-site location. The last thing you want is to have a Facebook situation and have hard drives stolen from your car, right? If you work with a shredding service, they will make you aware of every possible risk of not doing it properly. What is one easy way to do that?
Use IntelliShred For Your Security
Now, you know a little more about the importance of disposing of your hard disk safely and securely. Contact us if you or your company are in the New Jersey, New York, or Pennsylvania area and need secure hard disk disposal.
IntelliShred has been operating for 22 years and has several testimonials from companies that have successfully used this service in the past.