In the third of our series on the countdown to the EU's new eWaste directive Dell's Jean Cox-Kearns warns that firms must ensure all the data is wiped before handing it over for disposal
As full responsibility for treating and recycling household WEEE passes to the producer on the 1 July 2007, and as businesses prepare to embrace various methods of WEEE-compliant equipment disposal it's easy to forget about one of the key factors that makes IT equipment valuable - the business critical, often confidential, data it usually contains.
Although encouraging reuse and recycling are important aspects of the WEEE legislation, it does not include any requirements that data held on unwanted hardware is removed. As such IT chiefs' checklist for WEEE compliance should always include permanently wiping electronic equipment of any potentially sensitive data, before disposal.
There are various software packages available that can do this, but if you are unsure how to effectively deal with data disposal, consider working with a third party service provider. These specialist companies can provide certified assurance that data has been securely removed, as well as safely and affordably taking the hassle out of the transportation, logistics, packaging and processing requirements that come with complying with the WEEE directive.
With corporate data breaches costing companies millions in brand damage and sometimes even leaving them open to prosecution under the Data Protection Act it is essential that firms ensure that in complying with the WEEE directive they don't forget to keep a safe hold on their sensitive data.
Jean Cox-Kearns is Dell's take-back and recycling manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa.
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