Data destruction gets sensitive

How do you feel if your special storage item is destroyed? Relieved, when it’s a circuit board, or records, that hold information so sensitive there are rules about their destruction.

Legislation has forced organisations to take steps to protect company data but there is still plenty of old-fashioned dumpster diving activity that circumvents technology, according to a specialist in the field.

With the reality of corporate spying and the commercial environment riskier than ever, Recall Corporation CEO Al Trujillo said companies are undertaking audits to classify data and assess the fallout created by information ending up in the wrong hands.

Working in the field of specialist storage and destruction of documents, backup tapes and other assets, Trujillo said it wasn't that long ago "we use to press B for the basement whenever we were in the lift at a company".

"Now we go straight to the legal department at the very minimum."

He said security awareness about the handling of enterprise information is gaining momentum and Australian customers include banks, credit unions, health organisations, insurance companies and federal government agencies.

A division of Brambles Industries Ltd, Recall operates in more than 20 countries with information centres providing document storage, data centres for Web-based document management and secure destruction centres in addition to special vaults in undisclosed locations.

The company partners with IBM which outsources parts of its contracts to Recall, particularly the backup of critical data.

"Because our services are so specialised we don't really compete with other companies in the IT sector such as storage companies; the market is still un-vendored because it is hard to build vaults to such detailed specifications," Trujillo said.

"Even with our in-house IT we tend to go for best of breed and don't write any code because it's not our core activity."

Trujillo said Australian companies tend to fall into the trap of keeping documents longer than necessary because dedicated information managers don't want the legal responsibility of destroying documents so they save everything.

"We help implement document management policies to comply with regulations but find companies are keeping information longer than required," he said.

Some of the more exotic items Recall has had to destroy include a circuit board which held information that could be used as a master key to a local bank.

He said when an Australian bank upgraded ATMs, the circuit board had to be physically removed and its destruction witnessed following stringent procedures.

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