One inconvenience that all users inevitably face occurs when their favorite piece of technology reaches the end of its lifespan. Most users will take the initiative and replace the device before it completely fails, but then are left with the decision of “What to do with the old one?” Laptops and desktops can be brought to a recycling center, while smartphones and tablets are usually either recycled or traded in for an upgrade. Whatever the decision, one factor should not be overlooked: What will happen to the data on your device?
Identity theft is one of the fastest growing areas of crime, and can negatively affect an individual for years. For businesses, the effects of compromised data can be even more serious. Data stored on computers and mobile devices can include business information such as email accounts, network passwords, and client data; as well as personal information such as phone number, address, and photos. The good news is that there are steps that you can take to ensure that your data is secure when it is time to part with your electronic device.
In laptops and desktops, all data is stored on an internal hard drive. Before discarding a PC, you should remove all of this data, and there are different options for this. There is software that can be used to erase all of the data on a drive, but this may not be completely effective. There are devices and services that will magnetically remove all data from a hard drive, but these can be very costly. The most effective method is always to simply destroy the hard drive. There are many guides and videos available online for this, and this is also a service that M&H can provide for you. Once the internal components of a hard drive have been destroyed, you can be confident that the data is no longer accessible.
For smartphones and tablets, destruction is often not a desirable option because most users prefer to sell, trade in, or recycle them. While these options make sense economically, there is always a risk in turning over your device. Most smartphones and tablets have options that allow you to reset the device and wipe your data, but these may not all be 100% effective. A recent case study performed on discarded mobile devices found large amounts of data that had been unintentionally left behind by their owners. It is recommended to run the device’s data wipe function multiple times, and also to remove or manually delete the contents of SIM cards or any add on storage cards. Ultimately, the most effective way to keep your data secure is to keep or destroy the device, but if you do decide to give up your device, be sure to take proper safety precautions first.
If you have questions about what to do with your old devices, or need assistance in securing your data, contact us at any time at 866-9MH-TECH or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.