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Data privacy—Skip the drills and grinders


by John Flowers, Worldwide Channel Marketing Manager, HP Technology Services


The London Newspaper, the Guardian, recently got a lesson in data media destruction. On July 20, 2013 a senior cabinet secretary, reportedly under direct orders from Prime Minister David Cameron, arrived at the newspaper offices and demanded they destroy computers containing data leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Under the watchful eye of technicians from CGHQ, the British intelligence and security agency, Guardian employees attacked hard disk drives and memory cards with grinders and drills assuring the data they contained could not be recovered.


That’s an extreme case—both the requirement to destroy the data and the methods used—but it highlights a situation all businesses face: sensitive customer data and intellectual property reside on media in personal computers, servers and storage area networks. When devices break down and must be replaced, or when they reach end of life and must be retired, the data they contain must be protected from theft. Allowing failed disk drives to walk out with maintenance techs or tossing broken devices in the dumpster is like placing the crown jewels (to continue our British analogy) out on the sidewalk and hoping no one notices. And the stakes can be higher than just loss of data. Government and industry regulations like HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley and EU Data Protection mandate data protection and impose civil and criminal penalties.


To help our customers comply, we’ve been upgrading our portfolio of HP Data Privacy services. Since each organization must be able to select the services that best fit their needs, we’ve developed a multi-prong approach. You can:


  • Retain your defective components—You keep defective disk drives (or memory cards or processors) rather than returning them to HP. That lets you maintain control and accountability of data even when devices fail and must be replaced.


  • Remove data—Rather than warehousing failed and retired components, we can sanitize them to securely remove the data, so you can sell, donate or recycle assets without fear of data compromise and we can sanitize the drives to the standards dictated by your policies.


  • Recover assets—We’ll securely transport your retired devices to one of our facilities, sanitize them to remove data, resell them and send you the proceeds. If we can’t resell the asset without compromising data security, we’ll dismantle it and recycle or dispose of it safely.

HP Asset Recovery Service is a custom service that we fit to your unique situation, but the retention services (Defective Media Retention and Comprehensive Defective Material Retention) as well as our data sanitation services for storage or servers are easy to buy as HP Care Packs or as options to standard support services. And all the services are available worldwide from HP ServiceOne partners and from HP. They help you protect your data and optimize the financial return from retired assets—at a planned and predictable cost.


It turns out the Guardian freely admitted copies of the Snowden data existed in other places, and it’s widely suspected the British government was mostly intent on making a point. There’s even a video depicting the computer destruction. The good news is you don’t have to stock up on drills and grinders to protect your data. Our Data Privacy Services are easier and just as effective. To find out more… contact your HP ServiceOne Enterprise Partner, your HP sales representative or click here.


Who is John Flowers?

John Flowers headshot.png


John Flowers is the Worldwide Channel Marketing Manager, HP Technology Services for the Enterprise Group at HP. He is responsible for marketing for the HP ServiceOne Partner program, which enable partners to sell and deliver HP Technology Services. He also hosts the HP Services Fast Break series on the HP Enterprise Group YouTube channel. A techie at heart, John began his career in the technical response center supporting programming languages. He has held technical marketing, marketing and channel marketing positions in personal computing, servers, printing and services in both the U.S. and Europe.



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