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Cyber Security Tips: Replacing Old Electronics

Date Posted: July 31st, 2018



From: Westfield Insurance


Did you recently purchase a new smartphone or replace your outdated computer?  Wondering what you should do with the old ones? Since your data is stored on the hard drive, you need to dispose of the device safely. Otherwise, you may open yourself up to a cyberattack, data breach, loss of intellectual property or loss of reputation.

Taking risks never stopped you. But have you considered the implications of improperly disposing your old device especially if your business data is on it? Here are a few tips for securely discarding or transferring ownership of your digital devices.

  • Back up your data. Save all necessary files to a removable drive, the cloud or new computer.
  • Erase your data. Your used equipment can live a useful new life in a non-profit or educational institution. Be sure to completely erase all data before donating.
  • Wipe, don’t format. Formatting a hard drive does not delete or overwrite your data – all of the information remains in the file management system. If you only format, software could be used to access all of your data still on the drive.


  • High-Risk Data

Does your device contain financial account information, passwords and personally identifiable information such as names, social security numbers, birth dates or health information?

High-risk data should be wiped to a military grade standard. You can wipe your device yourself or hire a professional service.

Mobile Devices: Cyber Security Tips

If your device uses encryption, backing up your data to the cloud and then changing the password should be sufficient. Not sure if your device is encrypted? Searching for your device online will provide you an answer.

Not encrypted? Change your email account passwords and ensure that the device is removed from your mobile carrier’s account. Follow directions from the manufacturer for wiping and resetting your device. Once the process is complete, make sure you are no longer receiving messages on the device.

Permanently Disposing of Equipment?

Here are a few disposal options:

  • Send to a secure disk shredding facility or recycling center.
  • Physically destroy the device by drilling holes in the drive.
  • Donate to a local electronics recycling event.

No matter what you decide, be sure to follow environmental regulations.

Want to further your security? Consider cyber risk insurance. Westfield’s Cyber Suite provides coverage through experienced, third-party resources to provide the support you need to defend your business or cover settlement costs.


To find out if this may be for you talk to a Westfield Agent today.


Don’t forget to read about tips to prevent the threat of cyber crime from compromising your business.


“© [12/19/2017] The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company. All rights reserved.”

This article is for informational purposes only and does not modify or invalidate any of the provisions, exclusions, terms or conditions of the applicable policy and endorsements. For specific terms and conditions, please refer to the applicable coverage form.


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Wollam-Grand Valley Insurance Agency - Personal Insurance Consultants Wollam-Grand Valley Insurance Agency - Personal Insurance Consultants