Securely Decommissioning Computer Data and Equipment
If you are selling or exiting a business, it is important to make sure that, if your systems are not needed, you safely dispose of them in a secure manner.
Even when a business is doing well or growing, computers get rotated out of use and there must be a plan on how to dispose of them. For a business that is closing its doors and writing off much of the equipment, this idea becomes vital in ensuring that business data – especially client and financial data – remains secure. Building a plan can be daunting, so take the following list of 10 tips for secure equipment disposal and devise a solid plan for decommissioning your equipment.
This should be accomplished first. Make sure you remove any accounts or other access control facilities that are associated with decommissioned equipment. This especially includes workstations and laptops with home or mobile access into the equipment. You should not allow any ex-employee to have access to his old workstation or lingering/unknown network access accounts that are used to remotely log into the computer. These issues allow security crackers more “target surface” for invasions into your system and data. Quick hacks can pull your data before you are able to move it offline if there are rumors of your business closing or changing hands.
Many people assume that once the hard drive is removed and thrown away that it is completely useless and inoperable. Hard drive recovery techniques are quite effective and can retrieve data easily. If there is any data on your drives, make sure it is effectively erased (normally done by a professional). Merely reformatting or repartitioning it will not remove or secure the data from recovery techniques. There are several tools out there, such as the Shred utility that can help delete files securely and completely.
In addition to deleting all data, destroying the storage devices – if they are not required in any selling arrangements – is the next step in the process. Again, very powerful recovery programs and technology can even recover data from properly deleted storage devices. You should not destroy drives yourself; instead find experts and professionals who are accredited and efficient at such tasks. Professionals are much safer in destroying storage devices, many of which have industrial materials that are caustic in certain destructive situations. If your needs are so stringent that you cannot safely rely on an outside agency that specializes in secure destruction of storage devices, you should have a specialized team within your business that has the same equipment and skills as an outside agency.
Sunday, May 26th, 2013
Ask the Expert
How long will it take to make a profit?
There is no rule-of-thumb answer to this question. The truth is, if your expenses start small and you grow quickly, you can earn a profit immediately. It’s also possible to never turn a profit.
Many companies do plan on having resources in place and strategies set up to cover them for 3-5 years without making a profit. Some small business owners don’t feel they can wait this long.
This is why it’s essential to contact a consultant or coach for help understanding start-up costs, creating a business plan, and projecting sales and finances.