Resellers should make sure they have adequate cover to protect them from the potential pitfall of data from end-of-life PCs falling into the wrong hands.
Steve Russell, managing director of IT asset management provider, BTR UK, pointed to some well-publicised instances of this happening, including the bank details of Sir Paul McCartney being found on a PC sold secondhand, or a group of statistics students stumbling upon a register of sex offenders on a PC supplied to them by police in Bristol.
“Such incidents can be both embarrassing and costly,” Russell said. He added that the recent emphasis on the Waste Electrical, Electronic Equipment directive had brought this issue to the forefront of end-users attention.
“Resellers involved in providing end-of-life disposal for their customers should be asking their professional waste disposal partner if they are covered against the eventuality that data ends up in the wrong hands. It is something that probably very few resellers have thought about.”
Currently, something known as a data erasure certificate is often used as a reassurance to customers that their data will be destroyed, but Russell said it is not enough. “The certificate is merely a bit of paper, not a contractual agreement. It has no legal bearing and would not protect a company that is being sued,” he said.
BTR offers to protect its customers with indemnity insurance cover. “Having professional indemnity cover running to £1m per incident gives extra protection to businesses that are highly conscious of the data they are disposing of,” Russell said.
Reseller ISC Services, which provides a disposal service to its customers, signed up with BTR four months ago.
Rob Windeler, business manager of professional services at ISC, said: “Clients trust us to destroy their data. If it ends up in the wrong hands, our reputation could be ruined.
“We went out to tender for a disposal specialist and spoke to five firms. The icing on the cake was the financial backing BTR has put in place with regards to the indemnity insurance.”
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