International Recycling Day
is held today, 17 May to caution businesses that being green and responsible recycling is vital to destroy data that is stored on disused servers, laptops, computers and mobile devices so that it's not at risk of falling into the wrong hands.
In the UK, disposal of electronic equipment is the fastest growing waste stream. An estimated two million tonnes of electrical and electronic waste thrown out each year. The cost of data loss can be upward of $1.7 trillion (£1.1 trillion) each year globally.
A recent study
from Kroll Ontrack found that 35 percent of consumers in the UK, US, Canada and Australia recycle, sell, donate or trade in their mobile devices every two to three years and another 17 percent do so more frequently, usually when a new device model is launched. Researchers examined 122 pieces of second-hand equipment sold in the UK, US and Germany from online .
Nearly half (48 percent) of hard disk drives and solid state drives contained residual data
. Thousands of leftover emails, call logs, texts/SMS/IMs, photos and videos were retrieved from 35 percent of mobile devices. A disturbing 57 percent of the devices with residual data had a deletion attempt made on them and 75 percent of the drives still contained residual data. Simple deletion or restoring to factory settings doesn't ensure the data will not fall into the wrong hands.
“Businesses go to great lengths to protect data in equipment they are currently using via encryption, backups, and redundant systems but often the data which has been protected so carefully is easily stolen from disused equipment if not properly destroyed. If the data was once worth protecting it is worth permanently deleting and businesses in particular need to make sure they dispose of data as carefully as they protected it,” said Phil Bridge, managing director of Kroll Ontrack.