Sometimes even the best of intentions can go awry. When a business switches over to a new data system or a new way of organizing the company's computer infrastructure, it can mean a great deal of electronic equipment is no longer needed. The question then arises as to what to do with the items rendered obsolete by the changeover. Some business organizations choose to recoup a part of the original value by selling them, while others prefer to donate them to charity, a strategy which is not only philanthropic but that can also generate a tax deduction.
In some cases, however, the employees and managers dealing with the disposal of obsolete tech equipment are not fully aware of the security issues involved. They may believe that simply deleting all files is enough to wipe away the data that may be stored on it. Unfortunately, this is not usually true. ‘Deleting’ or ‘recycling’ a file often merely means marking it as available space that can be overwritten in the future. Until such overwriting takes place, the file and all its data is still present on the hard drive and it can be recovered.
Last week, Motorola Mobility admitted that it resold about 100 XOOM tablets that still contained the original owner's personal data. A complete data reset could have avoided the issue. Businesses who are transitioning to a new set of IT solutions should work closely with their managed programs staff to make sure that all discarded components are wiped clean properly before they are resold or donated to charity.