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Poor disposal of mobile devices creates massive security risks

Mark Majeske, President, Global Reverse Logistics, Arrow Electronics | Oct. 27, 2015
Proper disposal of discarded mobile devices should be practised to ensure eradication of information theft on the one hand, and undesirable environmental pollution, on the other.

Environmental stewardship is another concern. These devices, though outdated, still offer economic value, and therefore should not end up in a landfill. Even if devices cannot be sold, components can be reused and recycled. At this point in time, according to a survey conducted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong, less than 3 percent of Hong Kong residents recycle their retired electronic devices.

Enterprises should focus on two key areas:

  1. To ensure data security, all data-bearing devices, including hard drives and solid state drives (SSDs) must be sanitised safely and properly using methods aligned with industry guidelines such as NIST 800-88. Enterprises should trust reliable partners that can handle end-of-life processing of electronic assets, including logistics and data sanitisation. The processes should comply with the highest security standards, which are auditable and traceable.

  2. Enterprises should emphasise re-use through refurbishment, redeployment, resale, donation and disassembly to help yield greater sustainability. Internal redeployment with optional refurbishing and kitting services is an option.

Solution providers like Arrow can also support device sanitisation and the resale and remarketing of obsolete mobile products. An increasing number of mobile devices will be retired in the coming years. These outdated or obsolete mobile devices have hidden values that can be rediscovered. Enterprises should need to ensure data security in device disposal and they may be able to maximise economic value at the same time.


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