Posted on Wednesday, 6 March 2013 by admin
The average person is often hesitant to sell their old computer for fear of what the buyer may find hidden on the hard drive. Sadly, many people in business have none of this hesitation when they get rid of their old office computers. After all, you weren’t performing embarrassing Google searches or keeping indiscreet pictures of your girlfriend on your office computer. What’s to worry?
The Risk is Real
Tossing out an old computer without taking the proper steps could put your company’s confidential information at risk. Not only does this pose a threat to the privacy of your clients, employees, and associates, but it could put your company at risk for fines and imprisonment. If you work in the health care field, HIPAA calls for fines of up to $250,000 and 10 years imprisonment for every violation of a patient’s privacy. Those in the financial sector are held to a similar standard. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act allows for fines of up to $100,000 for violations. This, of course, doesn’t even scratch the surface when it comes to the reputational and financial disasters that can arise from improper computer disposal.
Erasing Is Not the Answer
Have you ever read a news story about someone convicted of a crime based on evidence the authorities retrieved from their computer? Did you wonder why the criminal didn’t delete the incriminating data? The truth is that he probably did. Simply deleting a file or erasing data from a computer isn’t going to stop law enforcement or even a determined layman from gaining access to the information they want. Even software that promises to eliminate information in an advanced way may not be enough to counteract powerful recovery tools. More often than not, criminal technology is far more powerful than what is available at your local computer store. If someone wants access to a piece of information on your hard drive, chances are good that they can get it.
What’s On Your Hard Drive?
The average person’s personal computer is filled with enough information to ruin a life if it fell into the wrong hands. Passwords, bank account numbers, addresses, tax returns, and medical information can all be used for the purposes of identity theft, blackmail, and profit. That’s a personal computer. Think about the kind of information on a business hard drive and imagine the kind of damage someone could do with client records, confidential memorandums, patient histories, and more. Think about what might happen to you or your company if that information got out.
Taking No Chances
When it comes to your business information, you can’t afford to take any risks. That’s why experts in the industry recommend nothing less than the total and complete eradication of a hard drive filled with sensitive, confidential data. If you’re in the position of disposing of an old computer, seek out professional hard drive destruction services and rest easy knowing that it will never fall into the wrong hands.
About the author: George Hillston is a professional freelance writer and passionate business information blogger. Check his Google+ profile to see more of his writings.