In the fast-paced business world, we often overlook a critical aspect: protecting sensitive company and customer data. Data security is not just a legal requirement; it's essential for preserving your company's reputation and sensitive information while aligning with your sustainability goals. In this quick 3-minute read, we'll explore how to safeguard your secrets to be digitally efficient and eco-friendly on Data Destruction Day (October 18th).
1: Set Up a Data Cleanup and Deletion Plan
A data disposal and destruction plan is like a roadmap for getting rid of and protecting your company's and client's sensitive information, whether in paper or digital form. Figure out which files need protection and which are not needed anymore. Dedicating one day to this annually, quarterly, or whenever works best would be a good idea for many businesses that understandably backburner this critical task. Not all files are equally important, so deciding ahead of time which ones will be part of the cleanup is a good idea. When making this plan, organizations should ensure it follows the government or industry standards. Failing to do so can result in hefty fines and legal repercussions. Delete the files that are no longer needed and physically destroy storage media that's past its prime. A certified ITAD vendor can quickly help with that.
2: Go Digital with Your Records
Sometimes, businesses must hold on to physical copies of certain documents for legal reasons and keep them for a certain period. These physical copies could include utility bills, contracts, or lease agreements. But let's be honest, paper records are a hassle. There's no way to know who looked at or made a copy of it. Even the most organized filing system won't tell when stuff goes missing or if an audit was skipped.
Going digital with your paper records is a smart move in the long run. It makes things easy to find, saves physical space, and guards your data with backups and security controls. You can work together better and help the environment by cutting down on paper.
3. Embracing Overwriting for Enhanced Data Security
While overwriting alone may not be a foolproof method for secure data destruction, it remains a valuable practice that should be a fundamental component of any comprehensive data destruction strategy. To effectively avert hackers from recovering sensitive information, it is crucial to make the data destruction process as challenging as possible due to the inherent risk of data recovery. One widely acknowledged standard for this is the Department of Defense's wipe standard, which serves as the definitive guide for securely erasing data by reconfiguring binary digits (0s and 1s) to make them unrecoverable.
In general, there are three tiers of secure overwrite processes:
- Security: Very Poor
- Comments: Deletes only file pointers, not actual data. This means that while the operating system may not be able to locate the file anymore, the data is still present and can potentially be recovered.
- Security: Medium
- Comments: Needs 3 writes + verification. It cannot erase reassigned or spare blocks on the storage device, potentially leaving bits of information behind.
Secure Erase (Sunnking's Process)
- Security: High
- Comments: In-drive overwrite of all user-accessible records. This process ensures that not only file pointers but also the information is completely irrecoverable. Secure Erase is necessary for scenarios where strong data security and compliance with data privacy regulations are essential.
Either of these approach methods generally fulfills the data destruction needs of most businesses. It is essential to conclude your chosen pass rule with a comprehensive verification step to guarantee the effectiveness of the data destruction process.
4. Find a Data Destruction Vendor
When looking for a data destruction partner that can make your files disappear, do your homework to ensure it fits your needs and can keep your staff and clients safe. Proper record-keeping can be a lifesaver when it comes to liability reduction. Third-party providers, such as ITAD specialists, offer secure data erasure and destruction services. But be sure the ones you use offer a certificate of destruction and be conscious of their environmental practices.
HERE ARE SOME QUESTIONS TO ASK:
- Which certifications does your vendor hold?
- Can they offer Certificates of Destruction?
- Do they play by the federal, state, and industry rulebook?
- Can they give you a complete chain of custody report?
5. Eco-Friendly Education
As we educate our team on responsible data management principles, let's raise awareness about the environmental impacts. Once they understand the broader context, it will motivate them to protect their information while minimizing waste, whether through recycling paper documents or electronic storage media. It goes beyond mere rule-following; it's about fostering a sense of environmental responsibility as data custodians.
Ultimately, Data Destruction Day provides a prime opportunity to enhance your company's data security and sustainability efforts. Your organization can strengthen its data practices by adopting digital record-keeping, choosing the right overwrite pass, and establishing a proper data destruction policy.
Additionally, educating teams about the environmental impact of data management promotes responsible and eco-conscious data protection, fostering a sustainable future.
Lastly, when you rely on certified professionals for data destruction, you boost your data security and demonstrate your company's dedication to a greener future.