Discarding Outdated Computers

We are disposing of a number of old computers. I know that they should be recycled, not just thrown away, but is there anything else we need to do?

Your computers probably have files of student work and other information such as addresses, telephone numbers, or grades stored on the hard drives. When school district computers are recycled, they may pose a data security risk in terms of student and/or employee confidentiality. Prior to disposing of old computers, you need to make certain that all data stored on all drives is completely destroyed. Data destruction is a process; simply deleting files isn’t enough and even rewriting each drive sector one time probably won’t do the job. If they haven’t done so already, the IT staff needs to develop a hardware discard policy that includes procedures for removing data.

This takes time; however, most recycled computers do not actually end up in the trash. You do not want sensitive data about students or employees to be accessible to the next user of that computer.

Submitted by: Susan Brooks-Young

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