Every piece of technology has a lifespan, and even smaller companies likely have a technology closet with at least a few “retired” hard drives tucked into a corner.

Although these machines may have been wiped using software designed to destroy data digitally, the best way to be sure a hard drive won’t fall into the wrong hands is through destruction. And, that’s where drive shredding comes into play.

When shopping around for a computer recycler, here are some guidelines for choosing a service that’s right for your business:


Proof of background checks, security controls

Reputable data security businesses love to talk about their own security measures, in part because they’ve spent so much energy and time to put them into place.

Relevant industry certifications

Look for industry certifications, such as the ISO 14001:2004, R2, and e-Stewards, which means that the company is adept at environmental management when it comes to digital waste and fully accountable for every pound of equipment that comes into their building.

Open Door Policy

Your vendor should welcome customer visits. If your vendor doesn’t allow you to see the shredding take place, quickly choose a new vendor.
Able to shred all types of drives

When it comes to deciding what drives should be destroyed, many companies neglect to include some important drives because they aren’t located in laptops or desktops. Most notable, drives within photocopiers can’t be ignored, because these drives often hold digital images of everything that’s been copied during the copier’s lifetime.

Provide proof of destruction

In some industries, such as banking and health care, regulations dictate that companies need to keep records pertaining to how, when and by what method the data are destroyed. A reputable shredding company can provide written proof tailored to these regulatory mandates.

Read more about AnythingIT’s data destruction HERE.

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Every year, hundreds of hulking vessels around the world are retired by their owners and sold to metal scrappers on the beaches of developing countries. The migrant workers at the shipbreaking yards have a raw deal. In India, they travel long distances, hundreds, sometimes thousands of kilometers, before landing a job at one of the shipbreaking yards. Here, they end up stripping entire ships with bare hands, sledgehammers and gas torches.

Much like illegal dumping of electronic waste in China, India, and Africa, the work often comes with a cost – to human health and safety and the environment. Old ships contain a long list of hazardous wastes – including PCBs, asbestos, lead and oil. For the workers in developing nations the opportunity to work in the shipbreaking yard often means the only chance at survival. And yet for the workers and their environment, breaking old ships can have deadly consequences.

In 1998, Greenpeace activists visited the shipbreaking yard in Alang, India posing at ship enthusiasts.

They collected samples from the yard where the workers worked and lived. Read the report HERE.

According to Marietta Harjono, from Greenpeace, “”If you sell a ship to a shipbreaking country you can earn ten to twenty million dollars. You receive the price of the steel. But you are not charged with the money for the lost lives or money for the toxic waste on board. Shipbreaking countries are paying to become polluted.”

There ARE reputable shipbreakers, much like there are reputable computer recyclers. In Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada, there is the only shipbreaking yard that meets all international standards for environmental and worker safety, but they compete for the same business that Alang, India does, and they often lose.

For more information, visit www.ban.org

Or call us.

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In an age in which data can move about in the blink of an eye and mobile devices take on many forms, corporations are more at risk of losing sensitive data than ever. Large security breaches from professional hackers aside, an increasingly critical concern for industry is the risk factor associated with employees themselves.

IDC Canada reports that e-mail is the number one source of data loss, with laptops second, and removable media third. Employees and employers are both to blame, says Linda Park, senior product manager of data loss prevention for Symantec in San Francisco.  “Employees are doing things in lots of different places, and no one is bothering to clean it up or enforce policies.”

According to insurancequotes.org, “The economy loses an average of $22,346 for every time an identity is stolen. And to fully recuperate losses, repair credit and prosecute fraudsters, consumers, accountants, lawyers and IRS officials can spend up to 5,000 hours, the equivalent of two years of full-time work on a single case.”

Watch “The Hidden Cost of Data Theft”

With identity theft-related tax fraud becoming a growing problem, consumers need to protect their social security number, take on line precautions, and of course, make sure that their computers are disposed of properly. Computer recyclers that are not certified may not be wiping hard drives correctly. For more information about data security in retired IT assets, contact us.

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