20 Sep, 2017

Could E-Waste Cause Cyber Security Concerns?


Do you remember what your computer looked like in 2001? If your answer is yes, could you access it right now? The answer is probably no because that computer ended up being e-waste in a landfill, with hundreds of other old electronics.

When it comes to enterprises, those discarded computers contain a ton of data that can hinder companies if it ends up in the wrong hands. So, business professionals, before you begin to throw away your used electronics, you may want to think twice.

In order to fully grasp the impact e-waste has, first you need to understand exactly what it is. Let’s dive into a few important stats surrounding this issue.

So, What Is E-Waste?

“E-waste is any electronic waste that is no longer wanted or is now obsolete, whether it works or not. Televisions, old VCRs, DVD players, stereos, copiers, fax machines, tablets, computers, and plenty more electronic devices all become e-waste as soon as they are not wanted anymore.” Earth911 reports. 

The United States is known to produce more e-waste than any other country. We are constantly upgrading, seeking new electronics and getting rid of our outdated ones.

The United Nations predicts that e-waste is continuing to grow into 2017. In fact, just this year alone, 48.2 metric tons of e-waste will be created. Fortune compared this number to The Empire State Building “two times over.” That is a lot of waste.

E-waste has a large effect on the environment but also affects other factors. Research shows that it is putting enterprises’ data in vulnerable positions to potentially end up in the wrong hands, leading to cybersecurity flaws.

Updating Technology Affects Security

Discarding old tech devices in order to migrate to new ones is something that is necessary when it comes to adapting your workplace. Whether you want to improve your technology throughout your business operations, or your devices just simply break, it is nearly unavoidable to not discard old electronics.

“Up to 79% of organizations refresh their infrastructure every 5 years, guided by industry averages that originate from the vendors themselves. In order to drive future innovation and meet business demands, companies must take back control of their procurement cycles and no longer depend on vendor agendas.” Curvature reports.

But, what about the data found on these devices during disposal? According to Fortune, when enterprises throw away their gadgets, they are making their data vulnerable to cybercrime.

Enterprises deal with technology on a daily basis, storing important data on hardware. When this hardware is discarded along with tech devices, these enterprises are vulnerable to their data ending up in the wrong person’s hands.

This creates a cybersecurity issue for many cooperations, and it is a problem that will only increase as long as enterprises continue to adapt to new technology.

Even though you may think that hard drives are completely wiped out, RetailDive reported that a study found 11% of data still contained in wiped out hard drives. So, in order to completely protect your data from being compromised, you must demolish the device to no repair.

Companies can make sure their devices are completely destroyed by relying on different companies like VisiShred that specialize in data destruction and cybersecurity, as well as refurbishing old devices, which helps with e-waste building up.

A Solution For IT Departments

If you’re looking to throw away digital components of your workplace, you may want to think about all the options you have, so your secure data doesn’t become vulnerable.

Just last year, Google announced an initiative called “zero waste operations” which pushes to reduce e-waste in landfills that come from data centers.

“At Google, Zero Waste to Landfill means that when waste leaves our data centers, none of it goes to a landfill—100 percent is diverted to a more sustainable pathway, with no more than 10% of it going to a waste-to-energy facility, unless waste-to-energy can be proved more valuable than alternative diversion paths.” Google stated in a blog post.

Organizations can follow Google’s lead, by disposing of e-waste into different alternative paths. Along with these efforts, it is important to understand wiping hard drives are not all it takes to protect your data from falling into the wrong person’s hands.

Enterprises can also look at cloud computing options, which take data away from hard drives and into secured networks.


The 4th edition of our Transformational CISO Assembly is open for application.

Join industry leaders such as Keynote Speaker Robin Bienfait, CEO of Emnovate on November 16-17, 2017 in Salt Lake City to discuss the latest cybersecurity strategies.

Our agendas and attendee lists are for Millennium Members only. Apply today for access! Already a Millennium Member? Simply click the link and enter your password when requested.


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