When a computer has reached the end of its useful life, what do you do with it? More than likely, it contains sensitive or other personal records captured in everyday clicks and keyboard entries. That could include banking and other information that could be used to drain your bank account or steal your identity. Certainly, throwing it out like any other piece of technology that is no longer needed is not what you should do if you want to safeguard your personal or business information.
Deleting emails, folders, and other information from a computer seems like it would prevent someone from accessing the records stored on it. But even amateur computer hackers can find sensitive information on discarded hard drives with a minimum of effort. How do you protect yourself from identity thieves? Here are a few key things to remember:
- Never dispose of a personal computer without removing the hard drive first. And almost every piece of electronics should be disposed of at a certified recycling center.
- Once you’ve removed the hard drive, consult a records destruction specialist. They can put your hard drive through a shredder, just like the paper shredding process, with equal results.
- Ask for a certificate of destruction which gives you peace of mind knowing that your hard drive has been destroyed and your information protected.
Any record, whether paper or electronic, needs to be maintained throughout its life cycle. That includes destruction. When you are ready to update your technology, make sure you take care of the unfinished business of removing all your personal information from your old device.