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Data privacy: an ounce of prevention ...


By Michael Ryan, HP Services Segment Manager


michael_ryan_badge_176x304.jpgIt’s been said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. But when the subject is data privacy and information protection, I think an ounce of prevention is worth at least a ton of cure. Target, for example, incurred tens of millions of dollars in direct expenses deriving from their data breach last December. But that amount pales compared to the retailer’s potential losses to brand integrity, customer confidence, and actual sales. Target’s U.S. segment, for example, reported $400 million earnings decline in Q4 compared to the same period in the previous year. You can buy a lot of prevention with that.


While much of the attention in data privacy is on stopping hackers, businesses need to look at the big picture. What good is it to implement the greatest security monitoring system available if you let data walk out the door on hard drives routinely replaced during service events? Or if you sell off decommissioned equipment containing recoverable intellectual property? Or if you consign dead laptops containing customer or employee data to the dumpster? That kind of data loss is foreseeable—and preventable.


The ironic thing is that an ounce of prevention doesn’t cost very much. There are many steps you can take on your own without buying anything. And there are simple and cost-effective measures you can take to assure that data doesn’t leave your data center on failed or retired equipment.


I presented a session at HP Discover 2014 in Las Vegas on just that topic, so let me give you a little review. Here are some common-sense measures you can take to protect your business’s data.


Encrypt data on hard disk drives to provide protection should they be handled by outsiders or become lost or stolen.


Establish policies and procedures for handling media when devices are replaced or retired.


Sanitize media when devices are retired or resold.


It’s pretty straightforward, but, of course, the devil is in the details. Fortunately, we offer HP Data Privacy Services to help you implement your data protection policies. Here are three approaches:


Retain the media. One of the easiest solutions is simply to retain media when you replace a device. The HP Defective Media Retention Service lets you keep hard, solid-state, and flash drives when we replace a failed device. We can even let you retain other parts capable of retaining data like system boards, controllers, and cache memory with our Comprehensive Defective Material Service.


Remove the data. When you need to retire, refresh, or repurpose an asset, the HP Data Sanitation Service can safely remove data from HP and non-HP servers and storage devices to recognized industry standards. The HP Onsite Media Sanitization Service removes data from all your loose hard drives on your site, so your data never leaves your control.


Recover the assets. When you refresh your systems, it’s a challenge to decommission and safely dispose of the old assets. HP Asset Recovery Service sanitizes, de-installs, transports, and processes equipment of any type, size, or brand. We resell equipment with market value on your behalf, and we recycle or dispose of the rest in a responsible manner. We track the entire process so you can demonstrate compliance with data privacy regulations or internal audit policies.


Securing your data not only protects your business, it lets you comply with government and industry regulations. It’s an ounce of prevention that can save you a ton of trouble. If you would like to drill down further into the problem and the solutions, check out the slides from my session at HP Discover.



Michael Ryan is a Services Segment Manager at HP specializing in data privacy, proactive mission-critical, and per-event services. Mike has been serving customers in various delivery and portfolio roles for more than 30 years.


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28-30 November
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