Nearly every electronics product in existence is responsible for somehow storing, accessing, or processing data. And in a business setting, you can almost guarantee that important information is stored within each of your company’s devices. But while data privacy and security measures are often considered when the devices are in use, many organizations overlook the importance of maintaining that security among waste electronics with responsible IT asset disposition (ITAD).
As technology advances, merely deleting your files from old computers won’t do the trick. Devices of all kinds continue to store sensitive data even after being “cleared,” leaving the information on these waste electronics vulnerable to unauthorized access. Think of it like moving out of an old house: you don’t simply clear off all the tabletops and then leave. You also empty all the closets and storage spaces, then follow up with a deep clean. Otherwise, you might accidentally leave something vital behind, allowing it to fall into the hands of the next resident.
In the digital space, these left-behind items can be devastating if exposed, gifting cybercriminals with anything from social security numbers to proprietary research. It’s no surprise, then, that disposing of waste electronics in a secure manner is increasingly critical — especially for regulated industries that must balance their need for technological connectivity with strict governmental scrutiny.
Regardless of industry, data breaches can negatively impact nearly every aspect of your organization, from finances and reputation to workflow. For one thing, a data breach can expose private customer and employee records, casting a lingering shadow over your organization’s reputation. Individuals are not quick to trust any company that has mishandled their personal information in the past.
In fact, research has shown that up to one-third of customers in finance and healthcare will cease business transactions with a company that has been affected by a data breach. To make matters worse, these individuals have the right to seek legal action if your business practices are not compliant with data privacy and protection laws — for example, if you enable a data leak through careless device disposal.
Breaches can have significant financial repercussions. Reports have confirmed that the global average cost of a data breach is a staggering $3.92 million, but the reality can be much worse. In 2017, Equifax experienced a data breach that required the company to shell out more than $700 million in compensation to affected US consumers.
The bottom line is that organizations cannot afford to go without asset management for their outdated electronics. And for businesses operating in regulated industries, proper data destruction and chain of custody can be even more crucial. As IBM reported in their 2021 report, “Cost of a Data Breach,” the highest costs of a breach lie within three highly-regulated sectors: healthcare, financial, and pharmaceuticals.
For the eleventh year in a row, the healthcare industry has seen the highest financial loss if a data breach occurs, with an average cost of $9.23 million. The financial sector is second on the list, with data breaches costing companies $5.72 million. In third we see pharmaceuticals, with an average cost of $5.04 million. Although large companies can typically roll with the punches and remain in operation, a data breach can be catastrophic for small to mid-sized companies, 60% of which shut down after suffering a data breach.
As a final nail in the coffin, we must consider the significant impact of a data breach on business operations. If a breach occurs, organizations must investigate how the incident happened and then address affected systems. However, this process can go on for many weeks, particularly if it is a severe breach. The labor hours required to handle the resultant crisis (and, potentially, lawsuits) disrupt daily operations, creating a ripple effect of missed opportunities and costs incurred.
To avoid this disastrous scenario, businesses must minimize their vulnerabilities by implementing proper protocols to dispose of their waste electronics.
Of course, we’re not suggesting that you hold onto outdated electronics just for safekeeping. Each electronic device has a lifecycle, determined by the advancement of technology and the inevitable effects of constant use. Eventually, when the cost of repairing or updating devices is higher than the replacement price, it’s time to dispose of your organization’s old electronic devices and make way for the new.
So, how can you ensure that you’re disposing of e-waste devices properly, without exposing your company to a potential data breach? The answer is ITAD services. IT asset disposition services help ensure complete and trackable data destruction for each end-of-life device. For those in regulated industries, who have the most to lose, working with an R2 certified electronic waste recycling company to protect your company’s data privacy can also help you maintain compliance with regulations.
As an added benefit, ethical disposal of your waste electronics can actually boost your corporate image, instead of dinging it. A provable digital recycling program shows dedication to sustainability and eco-positive processes — a decided advantage with the growing interest in corporate social responsibility.
Perhaps best of all, allowing e-waste recycling specialists to handle the ins and outs of your outdated assets means one less thing to worry about. Let your team focus their efforts towards critical tasks and internal business operations while you rest easy, knowing that your company’s data, reputation, and financial health are being protected by a proven e-waste disposal process that aligns with regulatory and industry standards.
Choosing the wrong IT disposal method can turn into a nightmare for your organization’s data security, public image, and bottom line. Luckily, there are certified, reputable recyclers that will dispose of your company’s electronic devices the right way. So when it’s time to get rid of your old waste electronics, choose a partner you can rely on.
First America Metal Corp. (FAMCe) has over 30 years of experience helping businesses safely and responsibly recycle their outdated devices, even in regulated industries. Our high level of expertise and exceptional customer service have built our reputation as a market leader, and we are committed to exceeding each client’s needs and expectations.
Want to recycle your old devices with confidence? Contact FAMCe today for e-waste disposal that’s verifiable and secure.