Everyone has heard cautionary tales about not deleting information off a personal computer before throwing it away, recycling it, or donating it. However, this is not just an issue for your home computer. Properly removing data from your work computers can be even more important.
Aaron meant well when he grabbed an old work computer for a family member. He asked his bosses, and they said it was fine. All the important files had been removed, so they felt it was safe to let a trusted employee take it home.
For Aaron, it was a great way of helping out. His family member saved hundreds and got a computer with plenty of software already installed and ready to use. He knew this family member wasn’t going to do anything illegal with the computer, so there was no worry about being overly careful.
However, a few months later, Aaron’s family member came across a great bargain for a better, new computer. Wanting to pass on the good deed, the family member gave away the computer to a friend, who wanted it for their nephew who was starting a computer science program.
The family member took his personal data off the computer, and then passed it along in the same state it was in when he got it from Aaron. Unfortunately, the friend’s nephew wasn’t as trustworthy as they might have hoped.
Problems for the Company
With a bit of computer knowledge, the computer’s new owner not only had information about Aaron’s family member, but also Aaron’s company. Within a few months, the business was getting some very odd complaints from customers about items they’d paid for but not received.
It turned out that Aaron’s good deed had backfired, costing his company a few very important customers. While they were lucky no money had been taken from their accounts, they did lose the trust of their buyers.
How to Prevent This
While donating computers can be a generous and environmentally friendly step, not properly removing data can leave you open to attacks. With one donated computer it can create a problem, as the case of Aaron showed. If you’ve upgraded your entire company’s computer system and have many computers to donate, the scale can be much bigger.
Simply deleting files is not enough to protect your company against fraud. Even reformatting the hard drive might not be enough, as more tech savvy criminals are able to undo formatting.
The best choice for protecting your business is to physically destroy the computer’s hard drive. A service like Assured Security Shredding can thoroughly destroy your physical data and recycle the rest of your computer. This can give you peace of mind while still being environmentally friendly.
To find out more about how to protect your company with computer recycling, give us a call today.
Image in this post from wikimedia.org