Over 20 million metric tons of electronic waste hit landfills every year. These include cell phones, smartwatches, and business computers containing high amounts of precious metals.
Many companies are making the switch by updating all the laptops for their employees. If you are a conscientious business owner, how do you securely discard your computer using modern data sanitation practices?
In this article, we will walk you through everything you need to know about how to securely transfer data storage to prepare your business computers for degradation or recycling.
Business Computers: How to Discard Safely
There are many steps you need to take to sanitize the data on your computer and ensure that no files in the file storage system are being compromised.
The first step is to delete and overwrite sensitive files on your desktop or laptop. This can include tax documents, personal communications, and more. There is specialized software like Certus Software available to help you secure the deletion of your files using a government standard.
Once you have securely erased all of your files, then you should turn on drive encryption. This is something you can do on a Windows PC in Settings. In Macs, this is found in System Preferences.
Next, you want to de-authorize your computer. You may need to do this for certain types of programs like Microsoft Office 365. This will allow you to use one or more licenses in the future that can be transferred onto the new computer.
It’s a good idea to delete your browsing history as well. This is because many browsers will keep information about passwords and sensitive information you enter on various sites.
After deauthorizing, you can uninstall certain programs like iTunes or 365.
The next step to take is to talk to your IT infrastructure about any specific data disposal policies. For example, businesses that have access to large quantities of proprietary data may need special types of disposal.
After all of this has been completed, you can wipe your hard drive. This means performing a factory reset on the computer to make sure that all the files are gone and the computer is like new.
The best way to dispose of your desktop after it has been prepared is to find an eligible retailer that takes electronic waste in locally. At least 25 states have already established a statewide program for recycling electronic waste. Check to see if this is available in your location.
Otherwise, you can donate it to charity, or try to find an eligible trade-in program to make the upgrade.
Conscientious Disposal in the Modern Era
At the end of the day, it is essential that you prepare your business computers for disposal in a way that protects your information and does not harm the environment.
It’s best to follow a protocol for company-wide planned disposal actions and large-scale computer upgrades. Try to find an electronic waste program or trade-in offer that allows you to reduce the impact on the environment.
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