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Risk

9/4/2007
12:37 PM
Keith Ferrell
Keith Ferrell
Commentary
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Recycle Your Computers -- Not Your Business Info

The news that Sony's opening a number of electronics recycling centers across the country is good news for businesses that have stacks and scads of old, outdated, underpowered and otherwise unused computers and other electronic devices cluttering their closets and storage spaces. (It's even better news for landfills, which do not need the toxic materials the devices contain.) Just be sure that what you're putting into the system is the equipment, not your business data.

The news that Sony's opening a number of electronics recycling centers across the country is good news for businesses that have stacks and scads of old, outdated, underpowered and otherwise unused computers and other electronic devices cluttering their closets and storage spaces. (It's even better news for landfills, which do not need the toxic materials the devices contain.) Just be sure that what you're putting into the system is the equipment, not your business data.The joint Sony/Waste Management program will kick off in mid-September with 75 sites. Sony products get recycled for free; there'll be a charge for gear from other manufacturers.

While the primary focus, considering the sponsor, will be consumer electronics, the program will accept notebooks and other business-use electronics.

Other computer manufacturers already have recycling programs in place, and it's expected that the Sony/Waste Management initiative will attract more to the movement. It's going to get easier and more convenient to recylce business devices.

Which makes it vital that you insure there is no business material still resident in the devices you get rid of.

And that may mean making sure there are no storage devices in the computers you recycle.

Despite the growing number of data-destroying programs available, a strong case can be made for simply removing the hard disks, even if they're wiped completely clean, from computers you're disposing of.

And there's just as strong a case for smashing the disks to smithereens once you've removed them.

Wipe the disks, remove the disks, smash the disks -- suspenders, belt and another pair of suspenders.

Overkill? Sure. And you're still left with the task of properly disposing of the smashed drive. But you won't be worrying about whether or not there's anything on that drive that could be used to hurt your business.

Or to expose yourself to possible legal jeopardy -- compliance rules as well as environmental regs cover some aspects of computer disposal.

Going green is good -- especially if you go there securely.

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