What To Do With Old Computers?

Posted  June 15, 2021  by  Jenny Green

Inside components of computer hard drive

What To Do With Old Computers?

In today’s technology-driven world, computers, smartphones, tablets and many other devices are a vital part of everyday life, be it in the office, at home and everything in-between. But at some point, technology inevitably becomes outdated and needs replacing, and many people aren’t sure what to do with the likes of old computers.

In many instances they’ll simply be stowed away or thrown away. But the improper disposal of old computers and other forms of technology poses a serious risk to the security of your data, with data thieves being masters of retrieving old hard drives and the confidential information contained within. Not forgetting the impact improper disposal has upon the environment.

Below, we’ll explore how physical destruction of hard drives and media ensures the data contained within is destroyed, so your confidential information is irretrievable. Shred-it protects what matters, and what matters to us is the data security of your business, customers and employees. So, read on to learn more about the steps and measures you can take.

How to Recycle Old Computers

Australians are among the highest users of new technology in the world and purchase over 2.4 million computers every year1. Unsurprisingly, this makes electronic waste (or e-waste), including computers and accessories, a growing problem. 

Computers are ideal for recycling due to their large volumes and the valuable resource recovery potential for metals such as tin, nickel, zinc and copper. In 2011, to encourage recycling and prevent millions of old televisions and computers from being sent to landfill, the Australian Government introduced the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme2.

Under the scheme, four government approved organisations, listed on the official website, assist with your computer and television recycling needs. But before you prepare to recycle them, there’s an essential step that must be taken: the removal and secure destruction of hard drives. 

Recycling alone, while essential for the planet, will not destroy the confidential data contained within – meaning it can still be easily retrieved by data thieves. And with as many as 86% of businesses not using a professional service to physically destroy old hard drives, or other hardware that contains confidential information3, a vast majority are at risk from suffering a data breach.

How To Destroy Your Computer Hard Drive

If your hard drive disposal process includes simply recycling, erasing, reformatting, wiping or degaussing old hard drives, you and your customers can still be vulnerable to a data breach. In fact, as long as hard drives are physically intact, private information can still be retrieved. But all too often, secure destruction isn’t taken into consideration.

In recent years, there have been several studies conducted to highlight how often personal information is found on old hard drives. One such example being the 2019 study from Ontrack and Blancco Technology Group, which reported that sensitive data is left on some 42% of hard drives sold on eBay4.
Given the fact that from our own experiences many people and businesses believe recycling hard drives will destroy their data, we don’t even want to begin to imagine just how many data breaches have resulted from improper disposal. So, what’s the solution? One of the most effective ways to protect your personal information is to partner with a media destruction specialist.

Shred-it’s services apply the same proven, state-of-the-art, chain of custody protocols for hard drive destruction as we do for document destruction, ensuring secure destruction of your media. Part and parcel of this service includes a secure chain of custody at each touchpoint, with the option to either book a regularly scheduled collection or one-off service.

In doing so, you can not only be rest assured that materials are securely recycled with approved partners, you’ll also receive a certificate of destruction after every service. Granting you the ability to provide an audit trail, so you can demonstrate your commitment to compliance with data protection regulations, such as those outlined by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).

Protect Your Business and Our Planet with Shred-it Australia

In 2021, something as simple as securely recycling old computers can have a positive impact on our planet. However, it’s vital that hard drives are securely destroyed and recycled because, unfortunately, data thieves are always on the lookout for their next opportunity.
If you’ve got any old computers and hard drives that you’re planning to get rid of, get in touch today for a no-obligation quote, for secure destruction services that can be tailored to the exact needs of your business.
1 Planet Ark
2 Australian Government
3 Shred-it 2017 Security Tracker Survey Australia
4 Blancco Technology Group

This article is provided for your convenience and does not constitute legal advice. Readers should not take, or refrain from taking, actions based upon the content of this article. Prior results do not guarantee similar outcomes. Please seek professional legal advice.

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