In an age where technology is evolving so quickly, it can seem like we’re buying new IT equipment every other month, particularly if you’re in a tech driven field. But what do you do with all of your old equipment once you have replaced it? For many businesses, this equipment represents a substantial investment, so it’s understandable that you don’t want to just throw it all away. Instead, many businesses opt to sell their old IT equipment on for second-hand use or recycling. But there are a few steps you need to take first in order to protect your business and your data.
Do A Manual Data Reset
The first thing you need to do is make a full, comprehensive back up of your data. Once you erase all of the data from your machines there is no getting it back, so unless you want to lose it, you need to make sure it’s safe. Only after you have done this can you move onto the next stage – doing a manual wipe of all data on your machine. This will not be a fool proof method of completely deleting everything on the machine (we’ll get to that in a minute), but it will remove all of the surface data, temporary files and other top level information. A complete factory reset is simple to do for laptops, PC’s and tablets but may be more difficult for servers or more complex machinery.
Remove The Hard Drive
As we mentioned in the point above, a factory reset won’t completely remove your data, so your IT isn’t completely safe to sell just yet. Next, you need to remove the hard drive from the machine completely. You need to do this because the hard drive is where your files are stored, and even a factory reset won’t erase these completely. Students at MIT proved this when they subjected 250 second-hand hard drives bought on eBay to some basic forensic recovery software – which was able to recover credit card information, healthcare details, bank accounts and more. If you aren’t sure how to remove your hard drive, you can check out our guide here.
Shred The Hard Drive
Once you have removed the hard drive, you need to decide what to do with it. Outside of the computer, it will basically be a useless hunk of metal – but with your personal and business information stored on it. So instead of throwing it away or leaving it in a cupboard to gather dust, you should take it to a shredding plant. Shredding a hard drive is the only way to ensure that the data on it can never be retrieved (short of investing in a very large and expensive magnet!).
Sell Or Recycle?
And finally, you need to decide whether you will sell your equipment or recycle it. Newer machines and equipment that is simply surplus to requirements can be sold on to new users through platforms like eBay and Gumtree, which allows you to recoup some of your investment and provide others with a useable computer. But if the machinery is old, worn out or on its last legs, it may be better served as recycling. In this case, you can either sell it to a recycling plant or have the entire thing shredded. Before shredding the equipment, many components will be harvested for reuse in new machines, and everything else will be shredded and separated into metal and plastic types, shipped off to factories who can use it in new equipment.
At Hungry Shredder, we believe in recycling and reusing as much as possible. Selling or shredding your old IT equipment is a great way to protect the environment and divert unnecessary waste from landfill sites. For more information on how Hungry Shredder can help you recycle your old IT equipment, get in touch with us today.