Commercial moves present many challenges, from the logistics of physically moving furniture and equipment to making sure that time spent moving has as little effect on operational business time as possible.One of the biggest concerns when moving a business is in discarding old office equipment in a way that doesn’t compromise the company’s security.
It’s important to scrub old hard drives of all data before you or your commercial moving company disposes of them. A security breach like the mistaken release of confidential information - of your company or that of your clients – can be catastrophically damaging to your company’s reputation. And it’s not only just a good idea, it’s also the law. According to eSecurity Planet, a website that features Internet security tips for IT professionals, there are numerous state and federal regulations, as well as specific industry regulations such as the health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), which require personal and other information be securely deleted before storage media are discarded or reused.
So how is this accomplished?
It’s more complicated than simply hitting “delete.” Files deleted on Windows doesn’t erase those files, but rather moves them into a recycle bin where they can be easily retrieved.
eSecurity Data suggests these three ways how to secure data during an office move:
- Clearing: This means overwriting the drive in its entirety with brand new data so the old data is no longer readable by a computer, (however, it may be possible for some data to be retreived in a laboratory with signal processing equipment and specially trained personnel.)
- Purging: This means removing the data at a more fundamental level, either by using the drive's own controller electronics to carry out the task, or by "degaussing (placing the drive in a machine that generates a strong magnetic field). Purging should remove all traces of data so that it is impossible to recover even if the storage medium is analyzed in a laboratory."
- Destroying: Physical destruction can be accomplished using a variety of methods, including "disintegration, incineration, pulverizing, shredding, and melting."
Once you are sure that your files have been permanently deleted, old equipment can be discarded, destroyed, or sold without worry. Do not skip this important step when making a commercial move. It can mean the difference between starting over in a new office with a clean slate – or being haunted by an old one.