When we talk about information technology services available on the market today, we tend to focus on software as a service and cloud services. By offloading the burden of maintaining systems and software, many companies have also been able to offload the burden of data security and adhering to federal guidelines relative to user data. However, there’s another component to the IT services market that leaves users and service providers alike exposed to liability, and that’s hardware leasing.

The computer and printer leasing industry was valued at $3 billion in 2018. This means that there is a massive volume of computer hardware that is being used, and then returned to the leasing company to be replaced with new equipment. It’s the old equipment that we want to focus on today, primarily on why the leasing company should not simply erase and reuse hard drives for other clients, but rather seek out methods of hard drive destruction that comply with government requirements and remain environmentally safe.

Regulatory Requirements

The nature of modern business requires companies to generate a massive amount of highly sensitive private user data in the course of conducting daily operations. Depending on the industry, there are varying levels of regulatory requirements on how that data should be stored, managed, and ultimately destroyed.

There are three general categories of acceptable hard drive destruction – degaussing with magnetic fields, physical destruction through crushing, shredding, or incineration, and overwriting the data to the point that previous data is unrecoverable without special tools and software. The first two methods destroy the drives completely, rendering them completely secure. While the third method of data overwriting might be sufficient in a personal use situation, it still allows the possibility that the data is intact and recoverable and should not be used in a commercial capacity.

Maintaining the Chain of Data Ownership

Whether a company is leasing hardware and storing data locally, or utilizing some form of offsite cloud-based storage, there is an agreement in place in the service contract as to liability for the security of client data throughout the life of the data in question. Once the client is no longer actively using a storage device, and liability passes to the service provider, it is best practice to generate a Certification of Destruction, which outlines all of the details as to how data changed hands, how and when it was destroyed, and other necessary details to meet regulatory standards.

Secure Destruction While Minimizing E-waste

1 Green Planet understands how vital data security is in the modern economy. Our secure data destruction services include hard drive destruction services that comply with all levels of government regulation, including degaussing, crushing, and shredding, and we accomplish all of this on-site with no outsourcing, and provide the necessary certificate of destruction for all devices. Our services are free, and we allow drop off from businesses local to the Renton, WA area, or we can arrange pickup.