Respond to Cybercrime with Secure Media Destruction

Topics: Govern Information | Secure Shredding

With cybercrime and identity theft on the rise, it’s a great time to develop a plan for securing and destroying your company’s unneeded archival data.



Disposing of confidential information calls for a concerted destruction plan extending far beyond a typical recycling program.


It’s a sobering truth for businesses and consumers alike: According to the Identity Theft Assistance Center’s 2012 Identity Fraud Report: Social Media and Mobile Forming the New Fraud Frontier, incidents of identity theft increased 15 percent in 2011 over 2010 rates.

The identity thieves behind these crimes may target your company’s financial records, customer contacts and employee Social Security numbers—all information you may dispose of regularly once it’s outlived its usefulness for your organization. And once a business becomes a data-theft victim, its problems only compound—both your bottom line and your reputation can suffer irreparable damage.

A well-known Ponemon Institute study found that organizations suffering a data breach spent an average of $7.2 million to recover. The subsequent recovery costs, on average, were $1.55 million, according to “Disaster Avoidance and Disaster Recovery: Making Your Datacenter Disaster Resilient,” another Aberdeen Group report.

The good news? You can avoid this growing threat by teaming up with a trusted partner in secure media destruction. Disposing of confidential information—on whatever media it resides—calls for a concerted destruction plan extending far beyond a typical recycling program. A trusted partner will help you devise a strategy for ensuring that when your records (paper or electronic) no longer add value to your business, they are destroyed in a secure and compliant way.

Learn the Laws and Avoid Becoming a Statistic

Before you start down the path toward secure data destruction, identify not only the federal rules but also any state regulations affecting your industry. During the past decade, many significant laws have been enacted to create privacy protections:

  • 46 states have created and enforce data privacy laws
  • 29 states have enacted data disposal laws
  • Sweeping federal regulatory frameworks including Sarbanes-Oxley, Gramm-Leach-Bliley, HIPAA and HITECH also govern the handling of certain financial and personal data

To keep your business compliant with evolving regulations, seek out a data destruction service partner that monitors changes in legislative, operational and technical issues related to your firm’s business category—a company that can handle secure destruction of everything from paper and tapes to hard drives.

All Kinds of Media—a Single Standard for Destruction

No matter what kinds of documents and media you need to destroy, there’s a safe and secure way to do it. The many types of electronic media you should include in a secure destruction plan include:

  • CDs and DVDs
  • Hard drives
  • Backup tapes
  • Microfilm/microfiche
  • Photographs
  • X-rays
  • Audio and video tapes
  • ID badges and bank cards

Your media destruction partner can shrink-wrap, tag and stage these materials, then record them in an inventory tracking system before they are taken in a secure transport vehicle to a destruction facility.

When You’re Done: An Eco-bonus

In addition to making your company more secure and in complete compliance, a secure media destruction plan brings with it an ecological bonus. Consider these statistics from one Iron Mountain partner in waste-to-energy conversion, reported in August 2011:

  • In 2010, the firm turned 4,000 tons of approved nonhazardous electronic media materials into energy.
  • This waste-to-energy incineration process conserved more than 8,250 barrels of oil.
  • This project generated enough energy to power 404 homes for a year.

When you collaborate with a proven, trusted partner in secure media destruction, you’ll be approaching the process from a position of strength, not fear. Committing to such a risk management strategy means you’ll be able to worry less about data theft as you spend more time growing your business.

Iron Mountain Suggests: A Checklist for Secure Data Destruction

Iron Mountain Secure Media Destruction services can help you establish a defensible and repeatable process to prepare, transport and destroy your electronic and magnetic media, either onsite or at an offsite destruction facility. 

When you collaborate with Iron Mountain, you will:

  • Keep pace with ever-changing regulations and compliance rules.
  • Improve your audit readiness. Iron Mountain’s workflows include personnel who monitor the destruction process.
  • Be assured of secure transport of media to be destroyed. Vetted drivers, monitored with 24/7 GPS tracking, travel dedicated routes.
  • Avoid inadvertent disclosures by destroying even your most sensitive or unencrypted data.
  • Gain peace of mind. Your electronic media is destroyed and non-recoverable; your company is compliant, with audit-ready documentation.

Do you have questions about data backup and recovery? Read additional Knowledge Center stories on this subject, or contact Iron Mountain’s Data Backup and Recovery team. You’ll be connected with a knowledgeable product and services specialist who can address your specific challenges.

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