Safe and Secure Disposal of Electronic Devices

Cybersecurity graphic

Replacing a computer, tablet or network equipment comes with its own set of challenges. Secure configuration before connecting to the network and/or Internet is crucial. Among these changes are ensuring that all default settings and passwords are replaced. After the new devices have been put into place it is time to turn attention to the old equipment. How do you safely and securely dispose of these?

Consider whether this device can still be put into use. Perhaps you have upgraded for reasons other than end-of-life of the equipment. Maybe this appliance can be reused, resold or repurposed. Make certain that you have taken the necessary steps to protect your data.

  • Backups-Backup any data that you need to preserve.
  • Deleting-Deleting the data is not enough. Deleting data does not actually remove the data from your device. It simply removes the ‘pointer’ to the information.
  • Reformatting-Formatting a hard drive will only erase the tables and does not actually remove files.
  • Overwriting- There are 3rd party tools that can be used to overwrite existing data. This action replaces the existing particulars with random data, making the original unusable.
  • Remove hard drives and memory cards-You may want to remove storage media from the device. In some cases, you may be able to perform a factory reset. This will return the settings to the initial configuration as if it were originally shipped.
  • Terminate accounts-Remove login access of any accounts associated with the device.

If you do decide to reuse this device, and have performed the above steps, confirm that you have brought the device up to current firmware and updates that are available. If reselling or donating the equipment make sure that you are comfortable that the device has been thoroughly cleansed.

If destruction is the end decision you will want to ensure that there is no recoverable data or information on the machine as outlined above. The best method for physically destroy storage media is by shredding. Then, choose a safe and environmentally friendly e-waste recycler that will certify the appropriate destruction.