Summary: COVID-19 has ushered in an era of new normal. Remote working, BYOD, Work from Home, widespread usage of third-party applications, and changing storage have become the new norm. The post-COVID era is thus witnessing a renewed focus on the importance of data security, privacy, and impending data disposal of end-of-life data. This blog will explore how the COVID pandemic has affected data vulnerability and the reasons for the growing importance of secure data disposal of end-of-life IT assets in the post-COVID era.
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced businesses to change how they operate. One of the most significant changes has been that individuals when working on a hybrid model, store numerous instances of data across many devices. As a result, data traces are left behind if secure data disposal practices are not adhered to by them. Therefore, as we move through the new normal, it is more important than ever for businesses to ensure that their data disposal practices are secure.
Top 5 Reasons Why Secure Data Disposal is Crucial in the post-COVID era
The pandemic has highlighted the importance of secure disposal of end-of-life data in ensuring business continuity and protecting against data breaches from dark and ROT data (Redundant, Obsolete, and Trivial). Here are some of the reasons due to why the landscape of data protection and disposal has evolved:
- Remote Work: The shift to remote working has been one of the most significant changes brought about by Covid-19. With more employees working from home, there is greater accumulation and exposure of ROT and dark data leading to an increased risk of data leakage. This scenario calls for an urgent need for organizations to adopt data disposal of end-of-life IT assets or for devices to change hands.
- Heightened Cyber Security Threats: The rise in remote working has also made businesses more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. With more employees using personal devices for work purposes and organizations pushing for BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), the risk of malware & other cyber threats on company networks has increased significantly. Furthermore, if disparate data is reduced through secure data disposal practices, it will reduce the burden on cybersecurity teams and minimize cybersecurity threats.
- Greater Reliance on Cloud Storage: Businesses with a sizable remote workforce increasingly rely on cloud servers to streamline operational effectiveness. This move puts a lot of data into a new storage realm with its own security challenges. As a result, there is a stronger need to adopt a hybrid model with both on-premise & cloud storage.
- API Integration and Third-Party Applications: Application program interfaces (APIs) will be included by more firms in their plans for digital transformation. This action will undoubtedly place APIs in the sights of hackers who may use APIs as targets for man-in-the-middle and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) assaults. APIs are effective in the seamless workflow but lead to a greater risk of data breach at scale.
- Virtualizing Desktop Delivery: Desktop as a service (DaaS) and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) have significantly risen due to the pandemic. As a result, redundancy, data sharing, and other complications caused by utilizing these shared resources must be taken care of. Robust data security measures and minimizing dark data on virtual servers will be the safer bet in the post-COVID era.
As more employees use third-party products like Zoom, Salesforce, Zoho, etc., and work remotely, the attack surface and data exposure have increased, opening gates for data breaches. Employees, thus, should only use authorized applications on business devices as a best practice. Employees who use their home networks for work should refrain from employing malicious and unauthorized programs because there is a reasonable probability that the corporate account will also get compromised if the home network is breached. Data disposal deployable over a network can be beneficial for automating data erasure. This regular wiping of drives will ensure that attackers get minimal data attack points for launching an attack, and the effect of a data breach is significantly reduced.
The pandemic has opened a ‘Pandora’s Box of Trouble’ and unforeseeable challenges whose effects will guide businesses for years.
The Need for Secure Data Disposal in the Post-COVID Era
As the world starts to return to some semblance of normalcy after years of pandemic-induced upheaval, businesses are looking for ways to get back on track. Data is a business’s most valuable asset in our increasingly digital world. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most vulnerable, evidenced by the string of high-profile data breaches over the past few years. While data breaches can happen at any time, they are especially prevalent in times of economic uncertainty, technological infancy, and evolution when companies implement new technologies, adopt easy fixes, and scramble to meet ends. The Covid-19 pandemic has been no exception, with several high-profile data breaches reported in the past year.
One of the most common ways hackers gain access to sensitive information is through disposed IT devices and electronic waste. Specialized data erasure software can completely wipe a drive and prevent recovery by even the most sophisticated criminals. However, End-of-life data, IT assets, and discarded e-waste must be securely sanitized before they are dispelled. You may like to read our article on the Risk Implications of unsafe data disposal to understand the repercussions of unsafe data disposal.
Secure data destruction has been important for various reasons discussed in previous articles. You may read Importance of Data Destruction in Cybersecurity, Data Erasure: Integral Part of Data Lifecycle Management & Data Disposal & Privacy Need For Educational Institutions, and more to stay abreast with the latest. In addition, you can also refer to the methods for secure data disposal in our knowledge series Data Destruction Methods.
Data disposal has always been important, but it has taken on new urgency in the post-Covid era. With more and more businesses moving online, the need to protect sensitive data in the new normal is greater than ever. As a result, businesses must become agile in adopting and updating data disposal policies or face impending challenges.
In a nutshell, remote workforce and hybrid work culture have made data ever-vulnerable, and robust security measures like data disposal of end-of-life IT assets have become imminent.