Summary: Financial companies are often targeted by cybercriminals because they have access to large amounts of sensitive financial information and assets, making them potential targets. Moreover, these companies are highly regulated and have to abide by data protection laws that govern secure data disposal. Read this blog to learn how secure data erasure can help financial and fintech companies stay compliant with regulations and safeguard data security risks.
Cybercriminals, terrorist organizations, and hostile state actors pose a significant risk to financial institutions such as banks, insurance providers, financial advisors, check-cashing businesses, credit card companies, lenders, loan providers, mortgage brokers, and so on. Attack tactics have become more sophisticated in recent years, and according to Moody’s Cyber Heatmap, banks fall into the high cyber risk-exposure category. Aside from that, these financial institutions are bound by regulatory, legal, and contractual obligations to safeguard client data, credit card numbers, transactional records, and other sensitive information.
So, what’s the way out? How can financial companies safeguard sensitive data when their IT assets need to be retired, when these assets are to be reallocated to other departments but contain confidential data, or when you are decommissioning your data center? Various considerations come into play while deciding on a perfect solution. However, we believe that “Secure Data Erasure” is not only the perfect solution for “Financial Companies” in fact it is “Crucial” for them.
What is Secure Data Erasure?
Secure Data erasure, also known as overwriting, is the process of rendering sensitive data essentially unreadable and irrecoverable by writing on it with a series of 0s and 1s (or pseudo-random digits). Data erasure is a software-based technique for making sensitive, private information on a device permanently unrecoverable while keeping the device still usable. It is environmentally friendly because, unlike other methods of data sanitization like degaussing, shredding, and other data destruction techniques that make the device unusable, secure data erasure only wipes the data without harming the device itself. Additionally, it renders the device reusable and lowers the expense of replacing devices.
Why is Secure Data Erasure Crucial for Financial Companies?
Secure Data Erasure serves as a safeguard for financial companies because it ensures that sensitive financial, & business confidential information, and employees’ & customers’ PII (Personally Identifiable Information) & NPI (Nonpublic Personal Information) like names, addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, income, credit scores, marital status, asset information, credit card history, bank account details, etc. is securely and permanently wiped from storage devices. This is important for maintaining the confidentiality and privacy of customer information and preventing data breaches or unauthorized access to this information. Let us look at the reasons for the need for secure data disposal:
- Meet Compliance: Financial companies must comply with various regulations such as GDPR and HIPAA that mandate the secure deletion of sensitive data to prevent breaches and protect customer privacy.
- Maintain Organization Reputation: Data breaches can result in significant damage to a company’s reputation, loss of customer trust, and potential lawsuits.
- Protect and Safeguard Sensitive Information: Financial companies handle sensitive information such as personal identification, credit card information, and financial transactions, which must be securely erased to prevent identity theft and fraud.
- Prevent Data Resale: Insecure data erasure can result in the resale of old devices containing sensitive data, putting the company and its customers at risk.
Therefore, secure data erasure is crucial to protect sensitive data, maintain compliance, and prevent damage to a financial company’s reputation. Financial companies are subject to stringent laws, regulations, and compliance requirements that mandate the secure disposal of customer information, some of them are:
- GLBA: The Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act in its 16 CFR § 682.3 – Proper disposal of consumer information requires that any person or entity that maintains or processes NPI must ensure the secure disposal of the information and ensure it cannot be accessed by anyone.
- PCI DSS: The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard section 3.1, 3.2 requires purging unnecessary data quarterly and once the authorization process is completed, to make all sensitive authentication data unrecoverable. Furthermore, section 9.8.2 requires data erasure of cardholder data to ensure it is unrecoverable, and section 10.7 requires retention of audit trail history for at least a year.
- SOX: The Sarbanes–Oxley Act requires organizations to formalize and implement data security policies that protect the data stored, utilized, and transferred. With respect to data privacy laws, the organization needs to ensure no data leakage happens across its lifecycle.
- FACTA Disposal Rule: The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act Disposal Rule is a part of the FACTA act of 2003 that requires businesses and people to take appropriate measures for disposing of sensitive consumer report information.
- BSA: The Bank Secrecy Act states that adequate measures should be taken for the data security of confidential financial information pertaining to enterprises and individuals.
Other reasons why financial companies need secure erasure and information disposal are:
- Reducing the Impact of Cyberattacks: Once financial and customer data has served its intended purpose as per law erasing it from your company’s IT assets, significantly reduces the amount of data that is at risk. By doing so, the attack vectors from which a cyberattack can be launched also get significantly reduced.
- Mitigate Data Breach Risks: Secure Data erasure helps protect against data breaches by eliminating the possibility of sensitive or confidential information being accessed or recovered.
- Device Hygiene: Regularly wiping your device files, folders, and volumes that contain confidential data that is no longer required or has been backed up is an excellent practice of device hygiene and can reduce accidental data leakage or breach.
- Promoting Reuse: Data erasure ensures data is permanently erased so banks, credit card companies, brokers, and insurance agencies can repurpose, resell, or donate them to charities, schools, libraries, etc. without fear.
All these reasons and more make data erasure crucial for financial companies, so now the question arises how to perform secure data erasure? Which software to use? We recommend using BitRaser as it’s a one-stop solution for all your data-wiping needs.
BitRaser – An Ideal Solution for Financial Companies:
You might ask why BitRaser? The answer is BitRaser is a certified & tested software from DHS and NIST that can perform secure data erasure using global standards like NIST 800-88, DoD 5220.22-M, and 22 more. BitRaser drive wiping software can wipe multiple drive types like SATA, PATA, SSD, NVMe, M.2, PCI, SAS, SCSI, IDE, USB, and Fibre Channel & FireWire. It can also wipe Mac® devices including M1, M2, and T2 machines.
Many Finance companies and banks are using BitRaser successfully to comply with financial laws and maintain audit trails. You may see some of the large ones here.
Advantages of Using BitRaser:
- Permanent Data Erasure: Data is permanently erased beyond the possibility of recovery, it helps in meeting compliance with data privacy & protection regulations.
- Automated Erasure Process: Automate the erasure process across assets with the ability to customize the erasure process according to international erasure standards.
- Multiple Drive Wiping: You can wipe up to 100 mounted drives simultaneously or erase up to 65000 drives over a network.
- Dual Drive Wiping: You can leverage the BitRaser Cloud feature to wipe drives at multiple internet-enabled locations worldwide or use the offline variant to wipe offline facilities.
- 100% Tamper-Proof Certificates: You can ensure compliance with data protection regulations by maintaining digitally signed certificates of data destruction.
- Erasure Reports For Audit Trails: You can use reports of erasure to serve as audit trails, which get automatically backed up to your cloud account.
- Cloud Integration: Reports and erasure certificates are available anytime on a secure cloud console hosted on AWS. It also gives you the freedom to create users and manage license distribution seamlessly.
- Licenses: Sanitize your data permanently without worrying about license expiration. BitRaser licenses do not expire until they are used.
- Technical Support: Get access to 24/5 free technical support.
BitRaser has been designed keeping in mind the unique challenges that the financial industry faces when choosing a secure data erasure solution that can be applied across boundaries & devices seamlessly. It is designed to help you make your erasure operations scalable and efficient.
You can go through our solutions that best suit your industry and read our Blog & Technical Articles to keep up with the latest in the data destruction realm.