The disposal and destruction policy are an important document that every organization should have in place. This policy will ensure that your company has a plan for disposing of old records, as well as destroying sensitive information that could compromise the privacy of your employees or customers. When you are disposing or destroying your company's documents, it is essential to follow the correct procedures.
It is a crucial component for any company with records or documents that they need to keep for legal reasons but no longer needs. The destruction of sensitive information is one of the most critical security measures that a company can take. Disposing or destroying sensitive data is a serious task, but it's one that every company should take seriously. As more businesses move towards digitization, the risk of exposing acute information increases. This policy reduces the chance of private data getting breached. A data breach can cost a massive amount to the companies, making money and time spent on destruction policy worth it. This policy is designed to ensure that all confidential information is disposed of or destroyed in a way that protects the company's business interests, satisfies legal requirements, and minimizes the risk of any future disclosure.
Methods of disposal and destruction
When it comes to destroying data or disposing of hard disk drives securely, consider using the following methods:
- The first method is to destroy it with software, which involves overwriting the drive so that all information on it cannot be retrieved. This process usually uses specialized programs, such as Darik's Boot and Nuke (DBAN).
- Data clearing and disposal is a process to erase data from your systems, devices, storage media, or backup tapes. Data can include personal information such as names of family members or phone numbers; financial information such as bank account balances and credit card details; corporate information such as trade secrets and intellectual property; or any other kind of sensitive data that you want to protect.
- Use physical destruction to ensure the data can never be retrieved or reconstructed. This process involves the device being mechanically crushed or shredded.
- External media should never be thrown in the trash. Instead, it should be destructed/destroyed.
- Degaussing is a process of demagnetizing an object, typically a magnetic storage disk. Magnetic media can store data even when not in use, and the degaussing process will remove this residual magnetization to protect against unintended erasure or modification.
It is essential to know the benefits of disposing of or destroying your company's waste so that you can make the best decision for your business.
- Disposing of items in the wrong way can create safety hazards for employees. It's best to hire professionals who know what they're doing when disposing of hazardous materials like chemicals or medical waste. This ensures that you avoid any accidents with your employees or customers.
- It gives relief or satisfaction to the destroyed data and reduces the risk of getting breached by hackers or other malicious entities.
- You can store a lot of productive information by getting rid of irrelevant ones, which saves the cost and time of the company in the long run.
- Your customers will feel more secure when they share their personal information on your website because you have taken a proactive approach to protect it.
- Data disposal helps keep your business compliant with GDPR (EU General Data Protection Regulation) and various state or local laws requiring firms to safeguard customer information.
How to implement this policy
Disposal and destruction policies are a vital part of the security program for any company. They provide guidelines on how to destroy sensitive documents or information that is no longer needed.
The disposal process should include the following steps:
- Determine whether it is necessary to dispose of the document.
- Maintain a record of all the devices and data disposed of. The form should include the date, appliance, description, destruction method (such as burning papers in an incinerator or shredding the documents).
- Destroy all copies present, including paper copies and electronic versions (using software like Clearwell).
- Use passwords, encryption, or firewalls to control access to the data. Make sure to change it regularly and don't use passwords that are easy to guess. These are one of the biggest mistakes that businesses make.
- Training your employees about data confidentiality is crucial as they are at the most significant risk of data leakage. They need to be provided practical aspects of training like using secure passwords etc. Employees must be informed about disposal procedures, so they know what needs to happen when disposing of files, hard drives, paper, etc. You can either provide internal training or hire a third-party company.
- When an organization creates this policy, they should ensure the procedure follows the industry and government regulations. These regulations should be followed to avoid any legal issues.
- Maintain a record of all the devices and data disposed of. The document should include the date, appliance, description, destruction method, etc.
- Assign the task to the concerned person who will approve and supervise the disposal process. Define specific procedures the personnel should follow to ensure safe data disposal.
- Try to use environmentally friendly methods to dispose of hardware-related waste.
How to dispose of confidential information
While getting rid of paperwork and files, you need to take sensible measures to avoid data breaches. Follow some of these guidelines to get rid of confidential information.
- Understand what kind of documents need to be destroyed. Examples are financial, loan, investment, and legal documents.
- Check the papers and documents before throwing them away. Use the shredding process to avoid data being leaked. Use a confidential waste bin if possible. These should only be used for paper waste.
- Avoid using the documents in public areas.
- If the information is stored in USB, DVD's laptops, or any other hardware, it must be destroyed when no longer needed.
- When you don't have the resources required to dispose of the items, trusted companies should be hired to dispose of the waste safely.
- Contact the IT team if you need any information related to the devices or data before destroying any electronic data.