Although data security is the primary concern when decommissioning IT equipment, only 61 per cent of companies currently data wipe all of their redundant computers, according to research by Vanson Bourne.
Ensuring that all data is removed from hard drives is essential. By not doing so, companies could fail to comply with the Data Protection Act leaving customers open to fraud and also put their intellectual property at risk.
Only 43 per cent of senior IT decision makers said they were able to account for all their decommissioned PCs. An estimated 75 per cent of e-waste generated in the EU, equivalent to eight million tonnes a year, is unaccounted for – either sent to landfill, substandard treatment facilities or illegally exported.
UK companies must improve accountability for where their unwanted IT goes to avoid the legal ramifications and reputational damage that irresponsible disposal practices can bring.
A shocking 33 per cent of the UK’s largest companies have decommissioned computers containing data which are completely unaccounted for. Such decommissioning practices have the potential to cause significant damage to UK companies, particularly since PCs and the sensitive data on them can very easily fall into the wrong hands once in the illegal e-waste stream.
Anja ffrench, Director of Communications, Computer Aid says “this research shows that current IT decommissioning practices in many companies seem to be resulting in every IT manager’s worst nightmare – hundreds of thousands of redundant PCs containing sensitive corporate data, completely unaccounted for.
By not disposing of their IT properly, companies risk huge financial, legal and reputational costs and can cause severe damage to people and the environment.”