How To Keep Your Data Safe with Asset Recovery & Disposal

What do you do with old devices like laptops and desktop computers that are no longer being used? Drop them off at the local recycling depot? Sell them on a classifieds site to make back some money? Chances are most people don’t look at their devices and wonder how they will dispose of them until that day actually arrives.

In addition to environmental concerns, there are security concerns that come along with disposing of old computers. Many people simply assume that resetting their device to factory settings is enough to prepare it for sale or disposal. However, the truth is more complex than that.

The Art of Disposal

Think about everything you use your computer for. Banking information, business communications, personal data, and saved passwords could all be lurking somewhere on your device’s hard drive. Failing to properly dispose of a device with that kind of information would be like leaving your wallet on a public bench with your photo ID, credit cards, and social security number all tucked away inside.

If a good person finds the wallet, then you will be alright. However, if the wallet gets into the wrong hands, then there could be trouble.

Do you want to take that same type of risk with your personal information stored on your devices? We didn’t think so.
Whether you are reusing a device by selling it to a new owner or disposing of the device at a recycling depot, you need to ensure the data on the device cannot be accessed by someone else after the device is out of your hands. Many people simply reset their device to factory settings, wipe the data, and move on.

However, a simple wipe of the hard drive is only enough to keep honest users from accessing your data. Even after data has been deleted, some experienced people may still be able to recover information from a hard drive with very little effort. The best way to ensure your data remains private is either professional data deletion services or secure asset disposal services.

NIST Cybersecurity Framework for Secure Asset Disposal

The NIST Cybersecurity Framework was designed to ensure the security of devices and data for government organizations and businesses in the United States. Within this framework is NIST Special Publication 800-88, or NIST 800-88 for short.

In NIST 800-88, outlines for data erasing and disposal are provided to ensure complete security. The ultimate goal of NIST 800-88 is to ensure that there is no unauthorized disclosure of information that may be stored on devices or hard drives. These guidelines may be mandatory for government agencies and some organizations that work closely with the government. Businesses are not required to follow these rules but may choose to in the interest of privacy and security.

In the NIST document, it is acknowledged that dumpster diving for old computer parts and hard drives is a valuable source of data for hackers. Therefore, data and storage devices must either be wiped clean or destroyed entirely. A helpful flow chart within the document helps users make the decision about which option is right for them.

Doing Data Destruction Right

When many people hear about hard drive disposal or destruction, they think about hitting a hard drive with a hammer and rendering it useless. While this may be true for the average user, experienced hackers can still glean data from a hard drive that is otherwise non-functioning. To ensure complete destruction of sensitive data, secure asset disposal services should be used.

Using the guidelines provided by NIST, secure asset disposal services will shred hard drives, melt them down, or incinerate them. The same is true for other device components that may store identifying information. A complete destruction of a data storage device is the only way to completely guarantee that data cannot be accessed by even the most experienced hackers.

Secure Asset Disposal & Hard Drive Disposal

Before you put up that old device for sale online, consider the data you may be selling with it. At ABM Federal, we offer NIST-compliant secure asset disposal services. Or, if you have lost valuable data, you can trust our asset recovery team to help recover important data that was thought to be lost forever. Don’t throw out that old hard drive before we had a chance to recover your information.

You can never be too secure with your data. When you need to trust that you are disposing of your digital media and assets correctly, contact us at ABM Federal.

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