Disposing of old tech must be handled with care

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Every few months technology gets an update. Whether it’s silicon or features it seems as if there is never a shortage of something new to covet.

At some point or another, you will have to say goodbye to your old tech whether that be through selling it on or throwing it away. Which ever method you choose, something you should consider is how your data on that device could be used.

This has become even more important as working from home means that folks use their personal devices for work.

For a business this could pose a problem, as when an employee decides it’s time for that device to be packed up, sold or thrown away, the data on that device could negatively impact the business.

Senior director of product strategy at Veeam, Rick Vanover, says that it’s important for employers to educate employees about the risks associated with using a personal device for work.

“Part of this should be educating staff on how to properly wipe the contents of their phones if they eventually discard it to a second-hand store. This is not something that is considered best practice by most organisations, but it should be,” Vanover explains.

“South Africa has a lucrative second hand smartphone market with sites such as Gumtree noting an estimated R1 billion that could be made from selling all the mobile devices on its site. But that doesn’t include the value of the data on all of those devices,” the senior director added.

The education should include caution about using personal devices for work and advice that this should only be done on devices that are updated regularly.

Further into Vanover’s advice it becomes clear that introducing friction when using a personal device is a good deterrent. This means asking employees to encrypt data, setting complex passwords and more.

This advice makes sense though as if data falls into the wrong hands, it could end up costing a company more than just money.

“As work from home has become the new normal this year, it is becoming increasingly complicated to manage the sprawl of a company’s data. While these agile work trends had been predicted for the next 5-10 years, organisations were not prepared for them to become so mainstream in 2020. As we look to the future, this is only going to become more and more complicated,” says Vanover.

Even when it comes to your personal data on your device, you should factory reset your handset to clear the data. For companies, wiping a device should be handled by an experienced IT team to insure no data is left on the device.

While old tech might be useless to you, it could prove rather useful for ne’er-do-wells.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.