We may not be able to see it, but the electronic devices and office products that surround us in our daily lives hold vast amounts of information.
To a data thief, stumbling upon this is like finding a buried treasure chest full of your sensitive documents—documents which they can steal, manipulate, and otherwise use to hurt your business or reputation.
While this may not come as much of a surprise—it may shock you to know how few business owners actually do something about it. Properly destroying and disposing of your office equipment and products is essential for keeping your private information private and avoiding potentially disastrous data breaches.
Luckily for you, Shred Nations can help you to not just identify the gaps in your data defenses—this article also provides a breakdown of several of the best ways to properly destroy and dispose of your office products and electronics to ensure they can never be used against you again.
Office Products That Store Your Sensitive Documents
Although traditional paper documents have long been the norm in business, the past few decades have brought a new wave of electronic office equipment that is designed to make the lives of their users easier.
What you may not realize is that unlike shredding your documents, simply erasing your information from your electronics doesn’t necessarily mean you’re protected.
To help you identify and eliminate some of the storage vulnerabilities in office equipment that may be putting your own sensitive files or documents at risk, here are a few of the most frequently found products around the home and office:
- Fax Machines: While their popularity has begun to wane slightly in the past ten years, fax machines were an incredibly common way of sending information throughout the late 90s and early 2000s.
Today, digital fax machines work much like the way a cell phone sends images—saving a copy of the pictures to the device hard drive before sending. In the past, older thermal fax machines worked similarly, but rather than saving a copy of the image to a digital hard drive in the fax machine, a copy was instead saved to a roll of thermal film.
Either way, every document the fax machine sends is saved to the device, making it critical that you take steps to properly remove any sensitive information that may still be stored before you sell, return, or donate the machine.
- Photocopiers and Scanners: Even though a photocopy machine or scanner doesn’t send images to other devices like a fax machine, it is important business owners realize that these devices still create an internal copy of every document you put in the machine.
Not only does this mean that a curious owner of a second-hand photocopier could open up the machine to peruse the past images of a previous company who has upgraded to newer technologies—it could also spell trouble for network securities.
If a document scanner were connected to your company network and a hacker was to break in, they could just as easily download images of health records and financial information without ever removing the photocopier hard drive.
- Hard Drives & Old Computers: At the end of the day, virtually everything with a computer chip stores information that can be recovered by a data thief or corporate spy. Like the hard drives in older office equipment such as fax machines and photocopiers—older computers, cell phones, and USB sticks also must be securely destroyed.
Product destruction encompasses nearly any device you use or have used in a daily workday. Some of the other office products in this list include:
- Computer Hard Drives
- Biomedical devices like Infusion Pumps, MRI and CT machines, Ventilators, and Diagnostic Ultrasound Devices
- Optical Media such as CDs and DVDs
- RAM and ROM-based Storage
- Mobile Phones, Tablets, PDAs, and Laptops
- Legacy Media including Floppy Disks, Zip Disks, or Magnetic Tapes
Proper Product Destruction & Disposal for Office Equipment
When selling, disposing, or returning a leased office product, you need to ensure that all the data it has stored has been totally destroyed and removed.
If state and national laws that impose heavy fines for not taking the proper steps to destroy personally identifiable information of consumers aren’t enough, just consider how much a potential data breach could end up costing your company.
To prevent the possibility of it happening to you, there are three options business owners have for proper product destruction services, which include:
- Data Wiping / Overwriting Software: For those who plan to sell, return, or re-use a product, software is often the favorite choice, as it allows for all sensitive information to be removed without rendering the device useless for future use. Business owners should note though, that a software solution is not the same as simply formatting a drive. Although formatting will erase the information, data thieves have now found ways to recover this data after erasure. Get an in-depth breakdown of this process here.
- Degaussing Hard Drives: Compliant with NSA and DoD standards for data destruction and removal, degaussing machines from our electronic media destruction services use an electromagnetic field to destroy hard drive information. Scrambling the data that is stored on the device, the degaussing process renders them unreadable and utterly useless to data thieves.
- Hard Drive Shredding: Easily the most straightforward product destruction service we offer, shredding a hard drive ensures total destruction of the device—turning it into thousands of tiny pieces. Our hard drive destruction services use their industrial shredders to totally destroy your electronics either onsite or at a secure shredding facility. Afterwards, the remaining pieces are safely recycled in compliance with EPA and other state hazardous waste requirements.
During the product destruction process, our employees will never make physical or visual contact with your electronics—all devices are secured in locked shredding bins. Afterwards, you are presented an official Certificate of Destruction, guaranteeing your service was completed safely and securely.
Get Free, No-Obligation Quotes on Secure Electronic Media and Product Destruction Services in Your Area!
If you are planning to get rid of any electronics soon, our secure product destruction services or electronic media destruction services will ensure that all your sensitive or proprietary information is completely unrecoverable.
Shred Nations specializes in connecting business and homeowners with the top product destruction specialists in the area—whether that means coming to you to destroy your electronics onsite, or you shipping your devices to us to be destroyed at one of our secure offsite shredding facilities. Either way, you can rest assured knowing your office products have been safely disposed and recycled by Shred Nations.
Additional Product Destruction Resources
A Guide to Proper Data & Document Destruction: New technology means new ways of managing your documents—and new ways to properly shred and dispose of your information as well. Use this handy guide from Shred Nations for an in-depth breakdown of modern storage options, their greatest vulnerabilities, and the steps you can take to protect yourself from them!
Shredding Medical Files, HIPAA, FACTA, and More: In the past few years, laws governing personally identifiable information contained in health records have been introduced, making it all the more important for the medical industry to manage and destroy files properly. These articles help to outline laws like HIPAA, FACTA, and HITECH, as well as offer solutions for ensuring your company remains compliant.
Hard Drive Destruction—Software vs. Mechanical: This article takes a closer look at the different methods of removing your personal and business information from hard drives and other electronics, helping to not only define each option available, but also providing some insight into which may be best for your product destruction project.