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ITAD and Data Security Practices During Covid-19

With the Covid-19 pandemic showing no sign of ending any time soon, most companies have resorted to implementing work-from-home strategies. Although most large companies have natural disasters such as pandemics on their register of possible risks, few had precedented that there would be such a sudden need for a large number of employees to work from home for such extended periods of time.

Despite the numerous benefits, having remote workers presents some key challenges to organizations. One such challenge is maintaining effective IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) and data security practices. The increase in the amount of company data being handled from homes imminently increases the risk of cyberattacks. Organizations that fail to match up their data security practices could suffer serious breaches which will not only hurt their finances directly through lawsuits and fines from regulatory bodies, but also reduce sales through the loss of customer and investor trust. Below are some ITAD and Data Security tips to help organizations with people working from home keep their sensitive data from costly breaches, and to ensure compliance with the regulatory bodies.

1. Keep an Inventory of IT Assets used Remotely

Most organizations with remote workers provide their employees with company assets such as tablets and laptops to use while at home. Such company assets should be inventoried to ensure they are complying with all data security and asset disposition practices.

Due to the sudden need for large amounts of staff members to work from home, it has become too expensive for all remote workers to be provided with company assets. In such cases, the employees have to use their own personal devices to carry out their tasks. These personal devices pose a huge security risk, as they are used for various purposes, making them more accessible to cyber attackers.

Such devices should also be added to the organization’s registry so that the proper data security practices are also applied to them. Having an inventory of all devices handling company data will make it easier to identify a breach and contain it before it can cause extensive damage to the organization.

2. Maintaining a Strict Data Destruction and Data Sanitization Policy

Data destruction and sanitization of IT assets is an important practice, both for regulatory compliance and data security. It is important to constantly delete data, especially personal information, that is no longer in use to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands. The company’s electronic devices that are no longer in use should also be destroyed. The data destruction and sanitization policies which have been implemented in the main office are especially important for the staff working remotely.

After the pandemic, when business resume their normal operations, all personal devices that will have been used to handle company data should be thoroughly cleansed. To be safe, all data destruction and sanitization should be centralized and handled by a dedicated team or outsourced company. This is to improve accountability and reduce the chances of human error.

3. Using a Stable and Secure Cloud Provider

Cloud services allow for secure access to data, limiting members to only the information required to handle their tasks. Businesses should work with a Cloud provider that is both reliable, secure, stable and in compliance with GDPR legislation. When deciding on a cloud service, you should check their certifications and services, technologies used, data security and governance, service dependencies and partnerships, reliability and general performance.

Once a suitable cloud service provider is selected, the company should then make it a policy that all employees use the provider for anything related to business while working from home. Personal cloud accounts should not be used on company devices as these greatly increase the chances of data breaches.

4. Choosing a Reliable ITAD Provider

An IT Asset Disposition provider should be selected carefully. A good ITAD provider will ensure that the company’s unwanted equipment and hard drives are disposed of in a safe, secure and ecological manner. This is essential for all companies to avoid data breaches, even while working remotely.

When data destruction and sanitization is handled by dedicated companies, a certificate of destruction and video of proof will be presented for regulatory compliance, proving the organization did its due diligence to keep sensitive data secure during the pandemic.

Final Thoughts

During this unprecedented period where most organizations have taken their operations online, businesses should be vigilant not to fall prey to cyber attackers. Since remote workers present a major security loophole, extra measures should be put in place to ensure they adhere to the set ITAD and Data Security standards to protect the organization’s data.

For the above tips to be effective, the remote workers must be aware of what is expected of them. By educating them of the data security challenges that working remotely presents to the organization and the resulting consequences of a breach, they will play their part in keeping the company secure.

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Michael Mulcahy

This article was written by Michael Mulcahy of Wisetek. Michael is an expert in data security practices for companies with remote workers.

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