What do you do when your computers reach the end of their useful life? If you’re like more than 15% of the IT Asset Managers we speak to, you pull out the hard drives, set them aside for a slow period in the year then grab your trusty drill and do your own manual data destruction.

There are some very good reasons why you might want to reconsider that approach.

1. You’re leaving money on the table

If you’re drilling out hard drives you’re almost certainly leaving value on the table. That’s money that could be returned to your IT budget to fund new computers or cover the cost of your new deployments.

We have spoken to IT Asset Managers who regularly practise the drill approach on computers under 4 years old. They are literally drilling through money, turning computers with value into worthless shells.

If this sounds like you, please contact us and ask for a quote before you pull out your next hard drive. We can tell you exactly what your computer is worth and possibly change your intent.

2. You have no tamper-proof audit trail for the destruction of information stored on the drives

Forget about the money for a minute; how are you proving to your employer that you’re handling the information stored on hard drives correctly? Without a tamper-proof audit trail, how can you prove to senior management of your organisation that you did, in fact, destroy the disks you say you did?

Let’s say that your organisation experiences a data breach of historical information. Without the ability to prove that it wasn’t a mistake in how you disposed of the hard drives, how do you defend yourself? It’s not a stretch to say that your job could be at risk. Certainly your chances of a promotion would take a hit unless an alternate and credible narrative is found.

3. You’re not an Information Sanitisation specialist

How do you know that your manual technique is working? We’ve seen data restored from drives that looked like nothing could be retrieved at the outset. To put it plainly, a drill is a blunt and ineffective instrument when it comes to data sanitisation.

This statement is even more correct when you consider that solid state drives can contain fully readable information unless every chip inside is destroyed. Typically that means shredding to less than 10mm wide pieces. Do you have access to that type of equipment? We do.

4. You’re contributing directly to landfill

Electronic waste is a huge problem. Although currently only South Australia and Victoria (from July 1, 2019) have enacted laws banning the disposal of electronic waste into landfill, you must acknowledge the fact that by placing the computer into the municipal waste stream you’re directly responsible for worsening one of the world’s biggest environmental problems.

Even when computers, printers, phone systems and the like have no commercial resale value, using a company like ACT Logistics to ensure correct breakdown and recycling of the component parts means your organisation is taking its environmental responsibilities seriously.

5. You’re (probably) breathing in toxic fumes

There’s not a lot of very toxic chemicals in hard drives, but if you’re drilling 10 or 20 or more drives at once there’s a fair chance that you’re breathing in airborne metal particles. Excessive exposure to aluminium fumes can lead to an illness called metal fume fever.

It’s a big personal risk to take on your organisation’s behalf. You’re braver than us.

In short:
  1. You’re drilling through money
  2. You have no tamper-proof, reliable evidence of destruction if you ever need it
  3. You may be doing an ineffective job anyway
  4. You’re worsening a thousand-year environmental problem
  5. And you’re probably breathing in toxic fumes

If, after reading all that, you intend to persist, it’s probably the metal fumes talking. Why not call us and ask for a quote to properly sanitise the data and handle the battery, other metals and plastics in your computers? It’s going to cost more than the current method, but it will be better for your health and the country’s, plus you might be pleasantly surprised by the value you pick up.