Has the time come to replace your hard drive? Maybe the security of your storage space has been compromised or you’re taking the leap into the brave new world of cloud storage. It’s pretty easy in this day in age to transfer the data from your old hard drive to a new one, but even if you delete every file on there, traces remain which must be disposed of more thoroughly.
Don’t just sling it in the bin.
Whatever the reason for getting rid of your hard drive, it’s important that you dispose of the old one securely to ensure that no delicate or confidential data is left behind to fall into the wrong hands.
What Are The Risks?
Disposing of information stored on old hard drives, mobiles, tablets and USB drives is of particular importance for Barristers’ chambers. The misuse of client information left on resold hard drives or computers can have grave consequences, both for the client and chambers, whose relationship is founded on confidentiality.
The possible consequences are as vast as you can possibly imagine. Assuming that information relating to a Barrister’s case, which was deleted prior to the hard drive disposal, won’t end up posted on social media is no longer responsible. Files disposed in the ‘Recycle Bin’ are not disposed and are always at risk of mistreatment.
USB storage devices are also often the culprits of information leaks. Barristers will use them to store case information, and then pass them on to friends and family members without removing the sensitive files properly. A misplaced USB containing client information can easily find its way into hands that could wreak havoc with it.
Erasing Every Trace
The Bar Council provides detailed guidelines on how to dispose of hard drives containing sensitive legal information effectively and securely to make sure nothing is left behind that shouldn’t be.
“Blunt and unsubtle as it may sound, physical destruction is best carried out by removing the hard drive from the computer and hitting it repeatedly with a heavy hammer”
The main guidance of the Bar Council is that you should physically destroy the hard drive before passing on, selling or throwing away a computer or device. This is as simple and low-tech as taking a blunt instrument to the spindle until it is unable to rotate. Particular care should be taken when destroying devices containing confidential information.
If you are erasing the hard drive on a working computer, and don’t want to smash it to smithereens, there is secure erasing software available which, when applied to a hard drive, will ‘cover up’ any existing remains or files. This software is not guaranteed, though, so if in doubt, revert to the Bar Council’s first recommendation – smash it!
To eradicate the risks completely, why not consider transferring your files onto the cloud? We offer reliable and secure cloud hosting options, along with IT support services for your peace of mind. Want to know more? Get in touch.