Although most corporates have good intentions when donating computers to underprivileged communities, charities and non-profits, their good deeds could be disastrous.
Computer equipment often contains confidential information that must be protected at all times. This includes sensitive information such as identity numbers, account numbers and credit card numbers related to staff, customers and business partners.
PartServe director Lee Bowes says careless donations are risky as redundant laptops, PCs, mobile phones and printers could contain sensitive corporate data. “Business owners are responsible to ensure that data is secure and that all personal information is protected, they need to protect themselves from the consequences of a data breach.”
All data needs to be properly destroyed, simply deleting files or reformatting a computer’s hard drive does not prevent data from being recovered. Also, a factory reset on a cell phone or tablet does not remove all the data. More importantly, copiers and printers also contain data on hard drives, and unless the data is properly deleted, it remains at risk.
The Protection of Personal Information (PoPI) Act ensures all South African businesses conduct themselves in a responsible manner when collecting, processing, storing and sharing another entity’s personal information by holding them accountable should they abuse or compromise the third party’s personal information in any way.
“PartServe has full serial number and asset tag tracking,” Bowes explains. “All machines that are data wiped undergo triple data overwriting – for the destruction of any remains of sensitive data. Once this is done, a certificate is generated per serial number confirming data destruction.”
Only once all data has been wiped completely, will PartServe commence with the refurbishment and recycling of second hand computer and printing equipment. All products that are recoverable are paid for and all products that are not recoverable are scrapped according to ISO14000 standard.