Author Elizabeth Wilmot

Secure E-waste Disposal

Data Killers is always on the lookout for information and news relevant to the data destruction and electronics recycling industries. As a nationwide provider of certified data destruction and recycling services, we thought the following article, originally reported on Tech Page One, was worth re-posting. Here is what it said:


“If you have computing hardware, you will have e-waste that must be eventually disposed. In some cases, that task is rather simple. Smartphones, for example, can be wiped clean and restored to factory settings. Since they use non-volatile memory for storage, it’s easy to erase their contents permanently.


In the case of CD-ROM or DVD-ROM, it’s also quite easy to securely delete your e-waste: Many standard paper shredders can handle ROM discs. They may only handle one disc at a time, but it gets the job done.


Disposing of your hard drives is a different matter. Erasing them does not mean data is gone. And even if it is erased, it can be “unerased” rather easily. Even when a hard drive dies, it still contains data that someone with enough determination and skill can retrieve.


Hard drives in a PC or server have a very long mean time before failure (MTBF)–millions of hours in some cases. When they are approaching their demise, they often give away clues. Loud clicks or groaning sounds, or extremely slow reads and writes are dead giveaways of impending failure.


You can’t just rip that drive out and toss it away. All e-waste is recycled these days. You can drop off a hard drive at Best Buy if you have to, and Best Buy does drill holes in the drive platters before recycling, which is sufficient for most home users.
On the extreme end of the spectrum, there’s hard drive shredding. Yes, you read that right. Drives from government agencies with sensitive data are put through a grinder and out comes metal chips. That might be a bit extreme for the average user.


In the middle, we have secure ways to dispose of drives to protect sensitive data, such as medical or financial information. It’s a two-step process:

• What you do within the confines of your enterprise; and
• What is done by third-party e-waste disposal firms.


Secure E-waste disposal: Third-party options

If you want to leave degaussing and physical destruction to the people who know it best, you have many options. Very few of these organizations specialize only in data destruction. The majority perform secure data destruction as part of a bigger records and data storage management service.


Some of these companies will perform secure destruction of e-waste either at your location, and others will pick the devices up and take them to a facility. If you are using a third party, be sure that their service includes tagging and cataloging of all items. Also, make sure that a paper trail is generated from acquisition to destruction for your own audit. This is something any vendor you choose for e-waste disposal should do. If they don’t, run, don’t walk, to find another option.


Secure E-waste disposal requires much more effort than just throwing things out or dropping them off at the Best Buy counter. But secure disposal of e-waste should–and legally must–be done with all the same care as you showed in retention of that data in order to keep your company and its critical information assets safe and secure.”


As a leading third party provider, Data Killers is known and recognized throughout the country for our data destruction services. We offer offers complete destruction services including incineration, on-site hard drive shredding, degaussing, tape shredding, and data destruction. With Data Killers, the project is done right the first time and all data is left unrecoverable. Our secure e-waste disposal services are fully certified and perfect for all types of customers.