22 Sep 2015
September 22, 2015

What to Do When Throwing Out a Work PC

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Throwing Out a Work PC

If you’re like most people, then you’ll have a few computers in your life. Most likely, you’ll have a couple at home and one or more in the office. If you’ve got a desktop and a laptop at home and at your job, chances are you’ve got personal data stored up that you’d rather not be leaked.

While most of us don’t use work PCs for personal business, there is sure to be some personal information on your hard drive that you don’t want floating around for just anyone to see. So what happens when your work PC is going to be replaced? Here are some questions to ask before throwing out a work pc.

Questions to Ask Before Disposing a Work PC

Where Do Your Unwanted Electronics Go?questions throwing out a work pc

Your first step when getting rid of a work PC is to find out where it’s going. Will it be resold as a useable device? Donated? Recycled? Whatever will be happening to your machine at the end of its life, you should know where it’s going and assess the data risks of that next step.

Will All The Data Be Wiped? How?

Data security is an important issue these days, and destroying data on an old machine takes more effort than simply deleting the files off a computer. Deleting a file from the recycle bin simply makes it impossible for the operating system to find it, but the data can still be recovered with recovery software by determined parties.

For PCs that will be re-sold, there are special programs that can erase the data more thoroughly than a cursory wipe. It doesn’t hurt to wipe your system with a free program if you can, but make sure your company doesn’t prohibit this step, and make sure you’re using a reputable program.

Is There a Formal Policy on Employee Computers?

Many businesses or institutions have policies on the acquisition of new computers, but this does not always carry over to end-of-life protocols. It’s a good idea to look into the company’s policies on broken or outdated equipment, and see if there are rules in place to destroy the data and dispose of e-waste responsibly. Can’t find a policy on the issue? It may be time to create one.

Responsible Recycling

In many cases (but not all!), it’s not cost-effective for companies to try to salvage value from old PCs and the best way to deal with the outdated or broken equipment is to have it recycled responsibly.

Many companies aren’t sure what the best options for electronics recycling are, which is why it’s so important for businesses of any size to find a responsible ITAD (IT Asset Disposition) provider to destroy sensitive employee and consumer data on company equipment and recycle the hardware according to industry best practices.

What is IT Asset Disposition (ITAD)?

For peace of mind and to ensure compliance with state and federal law, companies should choose an R2 or eStewards certified recycler, which are held to high standards of data destruction and security, as well as recycling practices to salvage useful components. Check out our guide to choosing an ITAD provider here. At ICT, we’re R2 certified and work to offer businesses comprehensive solutions and reverse logistics. Want to learn more about how we work? Contact us or fill out our forms to get started.

Saying goodbye to work PC? Find out where it’s going, and ensure your data’s not at risk. Feel free to share your story below!

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Ronnie Deaver

Author Bio: Ronnie is the Marketing Manager for ICT Asset Recovery. He loves swing dancing, wine, responsible recycling and adventuring around the world. A recent transplant from Texas, he’s been soaking in the Boston scene and diligently working with ICT to promote the message of responsible e-waste recycling, especially when throwing out a work pc!





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