Cybersecurity threats are persistent and becoming more sophisticated. All organizations, both for-profit and nonprofit, are under constant exposure to these threats. Malicious attacks are targeted or opportunistic. Improper data handling exposes a business to both types of attacks. Data destruction has become an important information security task. It is no longer an option but enforceable in law by heavy penalties.
Malicious actors are always on the lookout for unsecured data. Personal information, R&D data, marketing plans and corporate strategic plans are some valuable data for hackers. In information security, improper data destruction and cyber attacks go together. Failure to do secure data destruction invites cyberattacks.
Engaging professional services like SPW secure data destruction is the surest way of preventing cyberattacks, by denying malicious actors an entry point.
What is Secure Data Destruction?
Businesses accumulate a lot of confidential data on the business itself, the employees and the clients. This data is stored in different devices including hard disks, flash drives, optical drives, tape drives, mobile phones and even cameras. There is also data on hard copy.
The data on these devices must be destroyed when these devices become obsolete and need to be disposed of. The data needs to be wiped off completely before the devices are recycled, repurposed, or destroyed.
Sometimes, data that is not useful at the time is kept for different intentions including marketing. This data presents a risk and needs to be destroyed.
SPW secure data destruction makes this data inaccessible and irretrievable by unauthorized parties, including malicious actors. Data destruction is in different forms from paper shredding to degaussing to melting. The sensitivity of the data determines the sophistication of the data destruction method deployed.
Secure Data Destruction and Cybersecurity
Secure data destruction stops a variety of cybersecurity threats that target unsecured data. Hackers execute these threats in one form or in a combination. They include:
Businesses hold Personally Identifiable Information (PII) of both employees and clients. This data includes names, identity or social security numbers, home addresses, phone numbers, driving licenses, bank accounts, and credit card information. Sometimes PII data of spouses is also included.
Identity theft involves stealing PII data and assuming the identity of the original owner to access privileges and rights of the owner. For example, hackers will steal PII data and apply for a credit card in the owner’s name, or subscribe to an expensive software service. In more serious cases, they may set up bank accounts to facilitate major crimes like money laundering and terrorism.
In doing secure data destruction, a business denies hackers access to PII and safeguards employees and clients against this type of attack.
Phishing involves tricking people in giving up confidential information by tricking them using familiar objects. For example, a hacker will access names and email addresses of employees. He will then make an email a close looking email. He can then trick other employees or clients into giving up confidential information.
Business Email Compromise
This attack is one of the most devastating to both a business and its clients. A hacker will access confidential information that he then uses to intercept communication between the business and clients. The criminal usually assumes the identity of an employee and creates an email in a similar format to the one used by the business. He can then instruct a client to make bank transfers to an account different from that of the business. While the business may not lose money, the erosion of trust in this attack is great.
Hackers are sometimes in search of data that gives the business a competitive edge. Research and development data of a promising innovation can be worth millions to the competition. Intellectual property theft is a real threat to businesses where innovation is a priority, for example, medicine and IT.
Implications of Improper Data Destruction
The implications of not doing data destruction, or doing it in the wrong way are severe. Sometimes the damage is so great that the business has to close.
- Legal implications – Data privacy laws like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) place heavy financial penalties for improper data handling.
- Damage to brand reputation – Loss of confidential information makes clients lose faith in a brand. This is truer in sensitive industries like finance, banking, insurance and health.
- Loss of competitive edge – A business will lose its competitive edge when its intellectual property on leading products is lost.
- Business closure – Financial penalties and loss of clients can reduce business to the point of closure
SPW secure data destruction is the surest way to safeguard a business from cybersecurity threats that take advantage of insecure data. A professional data destruction service is better placed to handle this vital task because they have more technical resources. They can do the job properly and ensure malicious actors have no entry point to an organization’s confidential data.