Do You Know What’s in Your Storage Closet?

by | Nov 30, 2017 | Business

It’s Almost the End of the Year…
Do You Know What’s in Your Storage Closet?

If you’re like most busy business people, you have a closet, empty work room, or storage facility somewhere in your office that probably contains a bunch of old IT equipment (computers, laptops, phones, servers, etc.). Many of these most likely contain a great deal of important and sensitive proprietary information about your company as well as your employees and your clients.

Ask yourself these important questions:

  • Can you account for all of the company’s equipment?
  • Would you know if some items were missing?
  • Do you have any idea what info might be on all of the equipment?
  • Can you imagine what would happen if those computers or drives fell into the wrong hands?

If you think that this can’t happen to you, here are a few horror stories of enterprise companies that did not manage their IT assets correctly nor dispose of their old equipment properly with a qualified and certified vendor. Keep in mind that these are companies with huge monetary and IT resources at their disposal that still did not take this matter seriously.

The Coca-Cola Company:

Here is a company known for having the highest security standards and safeguards. In 2014 the Coca-Cola company received news that 74,000 people had their personal data compromised when 55 company laptops were said to be stolen from the company over a period of 6 years. The data on these laptops included the social security numbers and driver’s license ID numbers of former and current employees, as well as contractors and vendors that worked with the company.

BlueCross BlueShield of Chattanooga

In 2009, BlueCross BlueShield of Chattanooga found itself facing penalties from the U.S. Department of Health & Human services when it was discovered that 57 hard drives were stolen from a storage closet within their company. These hard drives contained audio and video of customer service phone calls whose conversations divulged personal information from 1 million customers. Rather than implement a proper ITAD solution for their old assets, the company carelessly stuffed them into an unsecured closet where they were easily stolen. It cost BlueCross BlueShield $1.5 million in penalty fees to the U.S. government and they had to enact a costly and time-consuming corrective action plan for violating stringent HIPAA laws.

Washington State

In 2014 the State of Washington examined computers from 13 state agencies sent to the state’s surplus program for distribution or public resale. Although most of the agencies complied with state standards for data removal from hard drives, four had left confidential data on their unwanted drives which included medical records, applications for public assistance, IRS forms, employee evaluations, and Social Security numbers.

If you are not sure what old equipment might be floating around your office, if you do not have an IT inventory management plan in place, and if you think that you can just toss out old IT equipment by smashing it…you are mistaken. Now is the time to take control of your IT assets. Be sure that those old servers, hard drives, and unused laptops tossed onto empty desks or stashed in unlocked cabinets are disposed of the right way. Have an IT Asset Inventory Management plan in place to keep track of every piece of equipment in your company – mobile or stationary. And be sure when you are ready to dispose of old equipment you work with a reliable, certified vendor who offers you a certificate of destruction.

Why chance having your old equipment breached and sensitive information leaked? It could wreak havoc with your company’s reputation and cost you a huge amount of money. Call CLR Solutions for an IT Asset Security assessment today. And just think of all the space you will gain!

About The Author

Chris Regan

Chris Regan

Founder of CLR Solutions LLC, a specialized electronics recycling/refurbishing and data security services firm which offers clients secure data destruction, equipment investment recovery solutions, electronic disposal, and recycling services. Over 15 years industry experience in various leadership and management roles. A drive and determination necessary to make any project successful.