Monday, 5 May 2014

DIY Data Removal

Last year a survey conducted by a business waste disposal company came up with a very interesting statistic, claiming that 95% of all UK computer waste went to landfill; or put another way, of the 500 firms interviewed only 5% said they had strategies for environmentally proper disposal of their electronic waste.  While you are reeling, let us tell you a story.

Some years ago, we were removing a batch of 300 PC's from a customer site and had arranged for  resale of the computers to get best financial return for our customer.  Having loaded all the units on to the artic, there was a series of hasty anxious conversations between the warehouse manager and the IT manager.  We were then asked to unload all of the systems, as someone higher up the ladder was suddenly very concerned about data removal.  Several days later, and considerable customer man hours later after they had some of their technical guys remove all the drives, we returned with the artic.  Needless to say, resale value dived, their personnel costs rocketed and our costs to them for removal doubled owing to the additional trip. 

The main reason for the alarming statistic about landfill lies in the understandably nervous approach some IT managers have about the disposal of their data, with concerns over confidential data landing up in the possession of unscrupulous and opportunistic individuals.  There are enough apocryphal stories about personal data ending up in the public domain because someone somewhere did not properly check the disposal process. As a result of this quite a few companies, and indeed some of our clients as in the story above, have taken the decision to remove drives or otherwise conduct their own data removal prior to disposal.  

This may give a degree of comfort to the organisation, having done the data removal themselves, however there are factors that should be taken into consideration before the decision to do this is made.  Firstly the issue of additional time and resources that have to be allocated to complete any such data removal process on-site; secondly,  the concomitant drop in resale value of the equipment meaning less return to the business, impacting on budget considerations. 

Every business should be able to use a responsible waste management company to handle their WEEE and who can evidence environmentally compliant and secure disposal.  Here at CRF we work to make our client's lives easier and to be secure in the knowledge that we have their interests at the core of our service.  If you want to know more about how we do this please do get in touch with us.