Disposal Of Computer Equipment - Giving Our Secrets Away...

Most of us would not intentionally disclose sensitive company information to a competitor. Yet, with the proliferation of computers and electronic information exchange, the threat of unauthorized data falling into the wrong hands is greater today than ever before.

A single diskette can contain about 600 pages of information, and today's standard personal computers are equivalent to a small library. In the wrong hands, certain information could place your company at risk of loss of revenue, at risk of litigation, and/or at risk of embarrassment.

That is why proper handling and disposal of computer equipment and its associated information is so important. With old and new equipment changing hands every day, we must take additional precautions to ensure that sensitive information is not disclosed.

Before a PC is sent off-site for repair, transfer, or disposal, any sensitive information must be removed. Simply erasing or deleting these files may not be enough because most of this information can be restored with any common undelete program. To properly destroy all previously stored data on a hard drive so that the information is utterly irretrievable, you must low-level format the hard drive. This is recommended especially when transferring computer equipment. Formatting is recommended when using diskettes / CD's to pass along information to others. You should always format the media first, then copy your files onto the media. This will ensure against accidental distribution of additional data that may have been previously stored on the media.

So let's not forget that when disposing of any computer equipment, all magnetic media should be formatted, demagnetized, and/or physically destroyed.