Hard drive being incinerated as part of data destruction strategy

Does Your Data Destruction Strategy Fulfil Your Data Protection Duties?

With 28 January marking Data Protection Day and Data Privacy Week running 24-28 January this year, it’s the perfect time to talk about your data destruction strategy. Does your business practice secure data destruction to safeguard your customers and staff? Are you taking care of confidential shredding in line with the Data Protection Act 2018? It’s a new year and a fresh start so let RJS Waste Management help you get your data destruction strategy in shape.

What’s Data Protection Day?

Introduced by the Council of Europe in 2007 as the European Data Protection Day, the US started to embrace Data Privacy Day from 2009. Whatever side of the pond you’re on, 28 January has become synonymous with increasing awareness of and promoting best practices for data protection and data privacy.

Commenting on Data Protection Day 2020, The ICO’s Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham, said: “Today is an opportunity to reflect on the rights that protect people’s personal data around the world. It is also a day to recognise the role those rights play in encouraging trust and confidence in how organisations handle data, which is particularly important in enabling successful digital innovation”.

Why’s a solid business data destruction strategy important?

Data is as integral to most businesses as money, and it warrants the same protection from thieves and fraudsters. When it comes to data destruction, you not only have legal obligations (such as GDPR and the right to erasure) but also the maintenance of your reputation and the financial cost of any potential data breaches to consider.

The pandemic has brought a rise in remote working and increased cyber security threats, which makes the protection of data more important than ever. But the message has not yet got through. As reported by InformationAge in 2021, Cloudera’s CDP Customer and Product Director Wim Stoop, said: “Today, many still treat data protection in a reactive rather than proactive manner. The challenge in proactive data management lies in a company’s ability to close the gaps it has in tracking, identifying, and classifying information at scale in real-time, as opposed to doing so retroactively. After all, data classification plays a pivotal role in ensuring data protection is upheld.”

As well as being recognised as sensitive, data must be stored safely and disposed of securely by the most suitable means. But, as with all things that need doing properly, this is neither quick nor easy and that’s where a data destruction strategy partly facilitated by a waste management specialist comes into play.

Morgan Stanley’s 2020 data breach (that cost them $60m) was a stark warning to business owners that data destruction shouldn’t be entrusted to just anyone. The banking giant failed to oversee its contractors and make sure customers’ information was wiped from old equipment.

Whether it’s confidential paper shredding or destroying information stored on hard drives and alike, effective data destruction should leave information unrecoverable. Data destruction might be physical (such as crushing a hard drive so data is irretrievable) or logical (such as erasing all traces of data from a hard drive). Data erasure is an eco-friendlier way to deal with Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) that can then be refurbished and reused rather than sent to landfill.

How to firm up your data destruction management 

  • Take stock – Make sure you know what hardware and software contain data, is being stored and will need secure data destruction once it’s finished with.
  • Plan ahead – Create a schedule for data destruction so you know when it’s no longer needed, and your data management strategy stays on track. This is a good opportunity to coordinate any collections with your chosen waste data destruction services provider too.
  • Tool up – Do you have access to the best tools to help retain data in a compliant way? Are effective data destruction tools available to you in-house or do you need to outsource to a specialist waste management company? RJS Waste Management is a licenced waste carrier and we operate in line with British Standards EN 15713 Secure Destruction of Confidential Material.
  • Take note – You should keep documentation for all data destructions in case you need proof later. As well as offering destruction of data certificates, we offer an excellent data destruction evidence service including live feeds and recordings.

Do you need help with your data destruction strategy this Data Protection Day and beyond? Contact RJS Waste Management, your trusted and compliant secure destruction partners, today!