An article on Mashable.com today asks the question, “Is Digital Waste Dragging You Down?” and cites statistics that the average smartphone owner has 65 apps installed but only uses 15 on a weekly basis. It makes the case that with so much information stored digitally, whether on a smartphone, tablet, laptop or other digital media storage device, users tend to forget what information is stored or where it is stored. The article includes a graphic depicting the amount of data a typical user has stored on their digital devices.
This article should give everyone cause for concern as to what happens to that data when the mobile device or computer is replaced or lost. If you are a company that supports BYOD for your employees, than chances are there are company files stored somewhere among the average user’s 250-499 GB worth of hard drive storage (combined digital devices storage space of the average user). As such, your company should be just as concerned as to what happens to those devices when they are refreshed or turned in for electronics recycling.
Most people think that a simple factory reset of the device wipes the data from the device, and in doing so, tend to have a clear conscience about the security of their data and other personal information. That line of thinking is not true, especially with the amount of data that is stored in the cloud and the simple act of turning on a device can restore access to that information.
The Mashable article reinforces the notion for all companies, whether they provide employees with mobile devices or support BYOD programs, to have a responsible IT asset management plan in place. If the company supports BYOD, then it is wise to consider implementing a buyback program where the company rewards employees for disposing their devices with the company, which then allows the BYOD devices to be included in the company’s overall ITAM plan.
A company’s ITAM plan should include an IT asset disposition vendor that provides comprehensive ITAD solutions, including:
1. Reverse logistics
2. Certified data destruction and data erasure
3. A plan for electronics refurbishment and resale if the device still has value
4. Maintaining environmental compliance with Federal and local laws governing electronics waste
5. A responsible electronics recycling program
Partnering with the right IT asset disposition company can safeguard your company’s data and allow you to sleep better at night knowing your company won’t be featured on “60 Minutes” for breaches in data security or sending e-waste to third world landfills.