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Don’t leave your employees to their own devices
/ Categories: Datashred News, April

Don’t leave your employees to their own devices

Rises in personal device use at work is putting sensitive company data at risk

With a rise in personal device use over the last decade, many employees are using their own laptops, phones and tablets for work. This BYOD (bring your own device) culture is putting companies at serious risk of losing important or sensitive data. This has gained greater prominence since the introduction of COVID-19 related working from home policies.

There is been a huge rise in employees working from home, which is set to become the norm moving forward. Strengthened by a recent YouGov poll showing that only 9% of Britons want life to return to “normal” after this crisis. As a result, we need to embrace the new culture of working and put in place the systems and policies that protect data.

As a result of being forced to work from home, many employees are resorting to using their own computers and devices for work. This creates several issues:

  • Viruses could enter a company’s systems, due to inadequate or lack of anti-virus software, including lack of remote update functionality.
  • Security flaws that can be exploited in apps and systems when not updated correctly, that could result in hacking.
  • Simply not having control over the data stored on hard drives of the devices once a person leaves a company or chooses to sell a device.

In this age of GDPR and critical issues surrounding cybersecurity, companies need to have more control over data than ever before or face consequences if important or sensitive information is lost.

Making sure Anti-Virus software is sufficient and up to date

Make sure that computers have sufficient levels of anti-virus software and the correct processes in place to keep them updated on all devices including remote devices. If employees are using their own devices you should make sure they have sufficient anti-virus software in place, you might do this by purchasing anti-virus software for them.

According to a study by Ovum, a UK-based market research firm, commissioned by the data services company Logicalis UK, 57 per cent of employees take personal devices to work.

Keeping device software updated

Recent hacks to Apple’s Mail app left iPhone users at immediate risk of data extraction by hackers and a recent Window 10 OS update fixed more than 100 security flaws. As a result, it’s important to keep device operating systems and apps up to date. If an employee is not keeping their devices up to date, then data on the devices can be in immediate risk.

18 per cent of Ovum’s survey respondents said their employer’s IT departments do not know they are using personal devices, while 28 per cent said their IT departments ignore it.

Existing data on devices

When devices are used, data is stored on them, but when data is “deleted” it is in fact not gone. It is merely moved from view, ready to be saved over when something new on the device comes along. This means most files are easily retrieved from a device when “deleted”.

If your company owns the devices then they can be recycled and any data on the devices is kept within the organisation, or if needed hard drives can be securely destroyed.

When working with important, sensitive or personal data you will need to keep this data secure and, in many cases, have it professionally destroyed at the end of the devices use. If an employee is using their own device then a company has no control over what happens to the data on the device. If the employee decides to sell or recycle their own device, even if they think they have deleted all data, your sensitive company data may still be easily retrieved.

How to tackle to issue of data security when employees use their own devices

We would recommend providing devices for employees and creating policies for employees using their own devices with your IT departments. Clearly defining your BYOD policy, limits your risk of losing company data once an employee leaves a company. By providing devices for employees, you then retain the device after an employee leaves. Devices can then be recycled or if needed at the end of its life, the Hard Drive destroyed to prevent any company data leaving the organisation.

When considering Hard Drive destruction use a reputable company that provides Certificates of Media Destruction for your own records and use one that is fully accredited. Similarly, if you want to recycle your devices only use accredited companies, don’t let your devices and data fall into the wrong hands.


How do I ensure I dispose of my hard drives correctly?

A very effective way of disposing of hard drives is having Restore Datashred physically shred them. Our step-by-step guide explains exactly how we carry out this process:

  • Call one of our professional team to discuss how we can assist with your hard drive destruction.
  • Restore Datashred now have several mobile shredding vehicles with hard drive shredders on-board, allowing us to offer a national service for hard drive shredding.
  • Our fleet of mobile shredders can process up to 20 hard drives per minute, ensuring your data is permanently destroyed
  • In order for a hard drive to be destroyed, it must be removed from either the PC or server in which it is housed and any additional protective casing.
  • All hard drives will be destroyed onsite in one of our state-of-the-art mobile shredding vehicles.
  • Secure Collection Operatives also have the ability to produce a collection report containing the serial numbers scanned from the hard drives.
  • Once destroyed, the material will be brought back to a Datashred depot and disposed of in an environmentally friendly way.