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Continued need for education in safe hard drive disposal

CyberArk Software : 12 November, 2008  (Technical Article)
Cyber-Ark believes that data on disk drives on redundant computers continues to be a major problem with more education needed for businesses disposing of old IT assets
Cyber-Ark has confirmed the assertion - in a report due to be published in the International Journal of Liability and Scientific Enquiry (IJLSE) - that there is a vast amount of sensitive data stored on redundant computer hard drives.

'The assertion is quite correct and, whilst the report says that companies must electronically shred that data on the drives before selling, passing them, or arranging their disposal, there is still a considerable need for education in the industry about this issue,' said Calum Macleod, Cyber-Ark's European director.

'That education is going to take time, so, in the interim, we would encourage the industry to attack the root cause of the problem and never store sensitive data on the drives in the first place,' he added.

According to Macleod, by operating a company-wide policy of vaulting sensitive data in a centralised, but easily accessible, location, firms can be sure that their data is safe from prying eyes - as well as `accidents' by company employees with the best of intentions.

The report due to be published in the IJLSE, says Macleod, correctly states that the data being stored on redundant drives represents a significant level of risk for commercial sabotage, identity theft, and even political compromise.

'Educating an industry used to computers and their ease of access is going to take time. And that time will mean hundreds, if not thousands, of data loss incidents. Far better to adopt a solid corporate governance approach to data security and so prevent data losses from taking place in the first place,' he said.
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