Retiring Old Office Equipment in Austin, Texas
Every company throughout Austin and the country today have office equipment that stores data for normal day-to-day activities, from scanning, copying, faxing, and emailing are now an integrated part of the office. Every time your employees’ scan, copy or fax anything, the information is stored on media that’s very easy to access.
We use technology to improve processes and workflows to increase efficiency in our offices. The more technology we use, the easier it is for corporate spies and identity thieves to gather intelligence and personal information from our customers, employees, and business partners.
The implications are huge- and can cost millions. Just ask the Affinity Health Plan, who had to pay $1.2 Million because they did not properly remove or destroy hard drives in their copy machines prior to returning them to their leasing company.
This article will show you where sensitive information is stored on various electronic devices in your Austin office, and how to ensure all sensitive information is destroyed so your company isn’t vulnerable to a data breach like Affinity was.
Where Is Information Stored on the Machines in Your Austin-Based Business?
Scanners, printers, and fax machines have ways to store information before they transmit it. Even the most inexpensive printer will retain a copy of the information you send to temporarily or permanently. Larger printers that have multiple functions for offices have a hard drive to ensure that all the information you send to it is processed efficiently.
Copiers and industrial printers will store everything you send to it. That’s why it’s important to make sure you have an electronic media and product disposal plan.
Here’s a list from Data Breach Today of some types of media and devices that could (and probably do) store personal or critical company information:
- Mobile devices such as cell phones, smart phones, PDAs, tablets and laptops
- Floppy drives, zip disks and magnetic tapes
- PC hard drives
- Optical media, including CDs and DVDs
- USB removable media such as pen drives, thumb drives, flash drives and sticks
- Memory cards, including SD, SDHC, MMC, compact flash, microdrive and memory sticks
- Embedded flash on boards and devices, including motherboards and peripheral cards such as network adapters or any other adapter containing non volatile flash memory;
- RAM and ROM-based storage devices.
Before you ask, most of the office equipment in your office uses and stores information on one of these devices. If you don’t set it up to delete periodically or dispose of those storage devices properly before you sell or return your equipment, you might end up on the evening news and have millions of dollars of fines.
Make sure that you remove any media from any equipment you are planning to decommission– if you’re not sure how, most industrial sized printers will provide that information in the user’s manual that should have been provided with the equipment, or they will have it posted on their website.
Let’s get a little more specific and talk about fax machines. The risk of digital information being stored on fax machines is real- but there are also older thermal fax machines that can cause problems for your business. Failing to remove the thermal film from an old fax machine is just as dangerous as not removing electronic media from digital equipment.
Thermal fax machines transfer information on film to transmit it. If you don’t remove it, you could be exposing information you thought was secure. Take this example from a story posted by CBS4 in Denver titled Secrets Lurk Inside Your Fax Machine.
Take thermal film to be securely shredded and destroyed–if you just donate your fax machine without removing the thermal film, you might have a problem on your hands.
Steps your Texas Business Can Take to Help Prevent a Data Breach
So what can your company (or any company in Austin) do to help avoid a potential data breach?
- Keep up to date on ways identity thieves and corporate spies are obtaining information. Subscribe to a data breach notification service, and use the information you gather there to improve your data destruction and product destruction plans.
- Policies and procedures that account for the proper disposal of any electronic media are necessary. Be sure to include detailed instructions on how to remove or erase information on every piece of equipment in the office.
- Limit who can access and remove any electronic media from the equipment you’re decommissioning.
- Once you remove this media, make sure the data is securely and completely destroyed.
We understand that these steps can be difficult to implement- but we can help you with that. Our network of hardware and data destruction experts will step in and help ensure your data is completely obliterated and your electronic hardware is decommissioned properly.
No matter which service you choose, you’re going to have a secure, easy-to-manage way to shred your hard drives and dispose of your office equipment properly.
Get Free Quotes on Secure Shredding Services in Austin
To get Free, No-Obligation Quotes on Hard Drive Shredding and Product Destruction in the Austin area today, fill out the form to the left or give us a call at (512) 686-3121.