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Sustainable Device Reuse Depends on Data Destruction


Are your electronics reused when you no longer need them? If they contain data are they wiped, destroyed, or just kept somewhere out of the way? 

Extending electronic device lifespans is critical to reducing e-waste, but beyond right-to-repair laws and long software support guarantees, an often-overlooked factor is how easily data can be completely wiped. 

For certain electronics, the data that may be stored is not as easily removed as it would be with traditional drives. For example, a recent analysis by ESET, a global leader in digital security, revealed that despite being decommissioned and prepared for resale, more than half of routers tested still contained exploitable data that identified the corporate credentials, VPN details, and other sensitive information from the previous owner. 

While negligence certainly occurred, since devices that cannot be cleared should be destroyed, this discovery suggests that permanently erasing data on these routers is not a straightforward task. 

ESET recommends that organizations follow the manufacturers guidelines for removing data from devices, but this will vary among brands and may be a time-consuming process. 

Opting for the destruction of all equipment solves the data problem, but it is very wasteful. Others might instead keep unused devices, deferring data destruction and preventing resale. However, this creates additional security problems and impedes the circular economy. 

To keep devices in use, simple and secure data wiping must be possible and planned into asset management programs. Access to instructions and tools should be available to organizations and ITAD and recycling firms for any device that stores data. 

CEAR’s ITAD and Data Destruction services are NAID AAA and R2v3 certified to guarantee security and provide the most sustainable electronics management services.


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