We’ve been running online computer resale, repair and recycling companies for a number of years and throughout the whole period, the most important (and I can’t stress this enough) part of the operation has been the protection of personal and corporate data/ information. This cannot be stressed enough. Everything from replying to emails to surfing the web and recycling/ disposing of your computer exposes you to fraud and identity theft.
The most overlooked portion of a computer’s life is that of it’s disposal and the protection of the data on it’s hard drive. Skipping or binning your computer without first thinking about the safety of your personal information is simply crazy. It’s like throwing your credit card in the garbage bin without first cutting it up.
Using a professional recycling service isn’t always the best solution. Similarly, the local municipal recycling center will not be the best place to just take your old computer. You need to treat the hard drive or remove it first. Professional services will ensure your old computer does not end up in landfill, but they usually don’t guarantee that your data will be removed. If your used computer ends up on the Ivory coast, it’s data will probably be accessed and your personal information stolen. Paying for recycling does give you some surety in that there’s a form of contract in place and monies have changed hands for a service, but always check first to ensure that data destruction is included as part of the contract- and always insist on a certificate to say that the hard drive has been wiped or destroyed.
Wiping your own data is the best option and software like dBan offers the best and most secure way of doing this. The other option open to you is to remove the hard drive and take a sledge hammer to it. For corporates, computer recycling usually costs money and if it doesn’t, the service most certainly involves resale for export, where information may be accessed on other continents- well outside the shores of your parent country and the laws that protect a company’s rights. Remember, if in doubt, ask. Look for a level of professionalism and a service from your chosen recycling company designed to ensure client retention.
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