Think your old computer data is deleted just by wiping a hard drive clean? Or maybe it’s “out of sight, out of mind” once its tossed in the trash? These are mistakes lawyers should never make.
A recent study found that 42% of used computer drives contained sensitive residual data.
Knowing what’s necessary to ensure old files are destroyed – permanently – is crucial when you’re ready to purge the PC (or any other devices that carry sensitive information).
A law firm’s obligations to current and past clients’ data security should be heightened more than ever, as privacy regulations continue to ramp up around the world. And while computer forensics can often be a law firm’s best friend in finding key information for a case, in the wrong hands it can also be used to uncover data that could compromise an old file.
Experts say the only way to ensure that hard drive is dead, is to turn it to ashes. Frank Gillman is the chief information security officer at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith: “If you’re not literally shredding that stuff into dust, like the hard drive is going through a shredder with teeth and turning it into compost, it’s still dangerous.”
What about the office copier? Are you aware of their internal hard drives? Think of the critical information you pass through the copier’s screen that gets stored on a daily basis. These hard drives also need to face the shredder when they’re put out to pasture.
Smartphones, laptops, tablets, even USB drives all contain data that you need to keep secure. Some firms even discourage employees from storing any data on hard drives, preferring them to use a document management or document automation system. Korbitec’s new xchangedocs platform, for instance, is all about security of documents, even when you exchange them.
The next time your firm is ready for a hardware upgrade, make sure those old computers aren’t collecting dust… To be safe, ensure they’re turned to dust.