What Happens to Your Sensitive Data When it’s Deleted?

Sep 18, 2017

Did you know “deleting” a file only sends it to the Recycle Bin to await further instruction? When can you be certain the information has been destroyed? Is your sensitive business data accessible by professional hackers? If you have any uncertainty, here are the top 3 questions to ask yourself to ensure you’re on the right track…

1. Does everyone in your company have admin access to make changes on their workstation computer?
2. Do you have a staff security policy in place, protecting your company data and reputation?
3. Do you know your backup plan, status and frequency?

If you don’t know the answer to these questions, read on. It could make or break your company one day.

Many computer users don’t understand the basics of what’s happening in the background of their system. The GUI (Graphical User Interface) we’re all used to makes things seem so easy, we’re not aware of what one drag and drop function has to calculate to make it so easy for us! This is no more obvious than when you delete a file from your computer. Traditionally, it will be moved to your Recycle Bin. You might think that the files are gone forever, but that’s absolutely not the case. The only thing that changes is the location of the file. You can still open it and everything included with it is intact. Even deleting the file from the Recycle Bin isn’t going to be enough. Deleting the file simply eliminates the file’s link to a name.

After this, the space once held by the file is labeled as “free,” but it’s not overwritten.

1.) If your staff have admin access to their work device, this could mean they have the ability to create, move, delete, upload and download files & applicationa at their personal discretion.

As a business owner, you may have experienced a fired employee request their personal files from their desktop before they go. Many CEO’s have a rampant issue with staff using company utilities for personal use on company time (a topic for another day). The larger issue here, is the security risk involved in staff downloading or opening a file or app that has not been approved by management, specifically the CIO (Chief Information Officer).

ActiveCo Technology Management helps mitigate risks like this through actionable policies and education. If you’re wondering how to protect your information properly, our business consulting services are at your disposal. Contact us for more insight on this.

2.) Speaking of policies, not every company has a policy, clearly stating what is acceptable use of an employee’s workstation. ActiveCo offers our clients a wide array of policies they can choose from, specifying what employees should or shouldn’t do on their workstation (at home, or at the office).

Beyond the individual workstations, many business owners have not updated these guidelines as technology improves at a substantial pace. There are further risk of company information leakage, as well as damaging the company reputation through improper use of social media.

Curious if your policies need updating? Part of ActiveCo’s strategy is helping clients ensure they are working with up-to-date guidelines and policies.

3.) Back up and disaster recovery is an integral part of any business plan. If you are unsure specifically how backups work, what type of backups you have and how often your data is being backed up, you need to seriously consider finding out. The ability to gain peace of mind is reason enough to have a conversation about your backup.

In short, your business data is constantly at risk, unless it has been destroyed properly. If you can’t be certain how your data is being handled, or mis-handled, your information will be a target for professional  hackers.

Related Article:

Data Backup isn’t as Simple as You May Think


Learn more on this topic

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