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  • Denrique Davis

Why Your Business Needs a Data Destruction Policy

Updated: Apr 30, 2021

The world and laptop and mobile phone recycling
Benefits of Sustainable Recycling of WEEE waste on the environment

As we enter the 4th quarter of what has been a truly life-changing year, we as both individuals and business owners are learning to adapt and the face global issues facing us. One major issue that we still face is the issue of climate change, sustainability and what we can do to reduce the impact we are having on our beautiful blue marble. Businesses are having to respond as pressure increases for them to adopt more sustainable practices, now this task can leave many businesses stumped but we have one solid gold suggestion; Implement a data destruction policy, below we will outline how this will not only reduce your footprint but also your reputation and your bottom-line.

What is a data destruction policy?

Sometimes referred to as a Data disposal policy a data destruction policy in layman's terms relates to the way your business disposes of its data, and GDPR now ties in with this making it a requirement of all businesses to document how they handle the personal data of anyone. Having a comprehensive data destruction policy goes beyond just deleting data, it also encompasses the methods you use to remove, overwrite, or destroy data (so it is impossible to retrieve) from retired devices and media that are capable of retaining data such as:

  • Smartphones

  • Hard drives & SSD’s

  • Servers

  • DVD’s, CD and Blu-rays

  • Laptops & Computers...And much more.

To put it simply just pressing ‘Delete’ then discarding of redundant desktop computers, laptops or servers is not enough, you could leave a treasure trove of sensitive confidential data and your business could be on the front of the newspapers for the wrong reasons, facing a hefty fine from the Information commissioner’s office (ICO) for a data breach.

Data breaches are not uncommon with 540 data breaches reported in 2020 so far, affecting over 165 million individuals and it is worth noting 75% of data breaches are caused by negligent or malicious staff. One way to avoid data breaches is to ensure secure data destruction methods are applied to any/all devices retaining media before disposal and these methods should be documented in your data destruction policy and this policy should be followed by everyone within your company at all times

How do you dispose of our data ethically and sustainably?

Well, the term data can be a little misleading but what it refers to is data retaining devices. Now that you have ensured data is irretrievable how do you ensure that your laptops computers…etc do not end up in some landfill somewhere? In all honesty, the majority of the devices we see discarded are not broken or useable at all, the more likely reason for the item being deemed ‘redundant’ or retired is because the systems have been upgraded to the newer more powerful model.

There is nothing wrong with upgrading to the newer more powerful model, it is normal practice in most businesses but it does mean some thought must be given to where that device will end-up, the next phase of the devices life cycle so to speak. How can you ensure it doesn’t end up on the scrap heap? How can you reduce the need for more natural materials to be used in the production process of newer devices? Simple! To reduce your impact on the environment, the solution is look to the three R’s, reuse, resell, recycle.

Reuse: 9 times out of 10 times the ‘redundant’ device itself isn’t faulty in any way and still functions as intended, could it be used somewhere else in the business? For test purposes or used as a backup device, finding ways to re-use these devices in your business could save you money. Alternatively, the item could it be donated to an educational institution or charity that could find a better use for it. A little refurbishment and an old device can perform like new and ultimately reduce your carbon footprint. Need help? Advance Services can make sure your old retired IT assets go to those who need it more, we are licensed Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher, we can erase, refurbish, and re-distribute to your chosen charity.

Resell: Another option is to resell the item. This will require professional level data cleansing before resale. At Advance services, we provide certified data destruction services and our partner Vulu specialises in reselling used items so that’s one less thing for you to worry about.

Recycle: A great third option if the equipment truly cannot be reused or refurbished, you can dispose of your electronic waste. This must be done ethically and in the right manner so your electronic waste can be recycled into new devices, products or components. Unfortunately chucking it in your recycling bins won’t ensure it goes through the right process, you need a WEEE certified disposal business to help you recycle your devices properly.

At Advance Services, we work with businesses up and down the country to help them create a sustainable and secure data destruction policy. Whether it is helping you reuse, resell or recycle your IT and computer equipment or simply providing data destruction services, we would make the perfect partner for your business sustainability strategy in 2020 and beyond. We would love to help you reduce your waste and carbon footprint, If you would like to know more, just get in touch with the team today for more information.

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