Adam Wilson, Negosentro | Formatting your computer’s drive means you’re deleting the data and setting up a filing system to be used by the operating system. This is different than deleting individual files and sending them to the Recycling Bin. When every day end-users format, it’s usually to give their computer a fresh start and hopefully speed up performance. Sometimes users will format before giving their device to someone else or before selling it to a stranger. Even though you might think you’re wiping it clean, data can still be recovered after a format.
Formatting is an intentional process that would be hard to do by accident. But there might be a scenario where a mistake was made, and you’d like to recover some documents, presentations, or photos that weren’t backed up properly. Perhaps there were personal client records that would be difficult, not to mention embarrassing, to retrieve again. Luckily, the web is filled with step-by-step instructions to recover this data. This article by Lifehacker leads you through some options. You’ll notice that even after some physical damage to the drive, there are companies who can recover the information on it.
On the other hand, you might not want the data to be retrievable. You thought that information would be gone forever. Perhaps your business has moved to the cloud and you’re getting rid of outdated hardware. Maybe it’s spring cleaning time and you’re finally getting rid of those piles of old electronics and that beastly PC that’s been collecting dust in your closet. To be sure you’re safe, you need to hire a local document destruction company that specializes in electronic data destruction that can destroy your drives and recycle them properly.
If the average consumer can search for ways to retrieve lost data – personal, sensitive information – then anyone who comes across supposedly wiped drives can, too. If the outdated devices or disks contain client information, and those get into the hands of the wrong person, the financial and legal ramifications could be dire. In Canada, businesses must adhere to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) to protect the privacy of personal data collected during commercial activities. Therefore, it’s a legal requirement to securely destroy devices, storage, and other hardware that contains this information. You’re also at risk of class action lawsuits from the exposed clients, employees, or public.
Only absolute destruction of your old electronics can ensure that they’re irrecoverable. It’s important to recycle the remains because e-waste is a major environmental and health threat. A company that offers on-site service and guarantees proper recycling is best. You can visually verify that a certified customer service representative has destroyed the items. Look for certification by the National Association for Information Destruction.
Formatting is a good step if you want to give your lazy laptop new life. Be sure you’ve backed up everything essential, so you don’t have to go through irritating extra steps to recover something you’ve missed. If you want to completely get rid of your old computer, hard drives, CDs, disks, etc., call a data and document destruction company who can do it securely.