When You Dispose of Electronics, What Happens to Your Data?
In my experience, one of the main reasons people hold on to their old home electronics is because they don’t know what to do with the data that even outdated devices can still contain. Even if the device itself is nonfunctioning, the data is still there and, in the right (or wrong) hands, it is still accessible to someone who knows what they are doing.
Certified Data Destruction
As part of our certification, R3EWaste handles all data bearing devices to the NIST 800-88 Standard, “Guidelines for Media Sanitization”. Now the NIST Standard, available here, is not interesting reading. But it is very useful. Essentially, it outlines the minimum requirements that must be met for each type of media stored on each type of device to in order for that data to be considered “unrecoverable”. This becomes complicated, as you can imagine because an increasing number of items are capable of storing your data. From old floppy disks that you wouldn’t know how to access anymore, to your cloud linked smartphone with a non-working screen, NIST provides guidelines for how we can and should handle that device. You’re naturally less concerned with the media side of things, but if you leave us an old VHS tape of The Lion King, NIST requires that we sanitize that data before it leaves our control.
Tested and Verified Data Erasure
When your old electronics come into our custody the very first thing that happens once they are weighed into our Inventory Management System is that we separate out potential data-bearing devices. This material is locked in our Data Security Cage when we are not working on it. Things like cell phones or mobile devices will be stockpiled until we have enough accumulated for someone to spend the time checking each one to see if it works and if we can perform a factory reset, manually sanitizing the device. If not, the devices are physically pulverized. Material such as laptops or towers are taken apart and have their hard drives removed. These hard drives are returned to the Data Security Cage until they are ready to be wiped with our tested and verified DBAN software, or they are also physically pulverized. Wiped and non-wiped hard drives are never mixed.
Facilities Designed to Secure Your Data
As per our R2 Certification, all data is fully sanitized within our facility. If you are particularly concerned about your data and the potential liability of handing it over, we do offer Data Destruction Certificates. In this case, mostly they are requested by our larger commercial clients who need to have hundreds of hard drives wiped and they do need the proof. However, at home tax accountants, medical home care professionals, and many other self-employed professionals are responsible for their client’s data. If you are one of those clients, it’s worth it to ask, what is their plan for securing your data?
If you are interested in going that extra step to secure your data, call in and ask, or mention it when you submit an inquiry through our website. We recognize that our customers are placing a lot of trust in us every time they hand over a device, and we take this responsibility seriously. If you have any further questions or clarifications about our data handling process, feel free to ask! We are confident in our system and always happy to take the extra time to settle any of your concerns.
R3eWaste knows that your data is important and sensitive. And it is your data, no one else gets to see it. For responsible electronics recycling, contact us today!