How to Dispose of Electronic Devices Properly


For today’s national Cybersecurity Awareness month tip, we’re going to go over how to dispose of your electronic devices properly and securely, from the software to the hardware, and the differences between getting rid of a university-owned device vs a personal one.

Erasing Data Before Disposal:

Before deleting any data, make sure it’s backed up. Fordham allows for students and faculty to use OneDrive to store their data on a cloud based server, however it is recommended to have both physical and cloud based backup options in case of data loss or theft.

If you simply want to delete the data you can simply perform a factory reset/wipe on your device and it will erase all of the data on that device. However, even deleted data on the device it can still be recovered.

  • A more effective way of deleting your data is to delete and then overwrite the data. When you delete a file from memory, the data is still there but can now be written over. For Mac’s using the built in erase function in disk utility is good for choosing how many times you want to rewrite over the data. For Windows, users can use the windows formatting tools.
  • You can physically destroy your hard drive as well. There is a spinning disk inside a hard disk drive (HDD) and you need to puncture that disk to destroy the data on the storage device and make sure it cannot be accessed. If you have a solid-state drive (SSD), you may need to make several puncture in the disk or use a shredder An SSD has several memory chips and if one is still intact, your data could be recovered.

It’s also important to have a data retention policy for your business unit, this involves creating guidelines on how long certain information is kept and when it should be properly disposed of. With the data retention policy, you should also keep a log of how something was destroyed, when it was destroyed, and what destroyed it. 

If your device is university-owned and no longer of use, contact Fordham IT at 718-817-3999 or bring your device to one of the walk in centers  (McShane 266 or Lowenstein SL18) and they will hand the device over to Information Security & Assurance who will wipe or degauss your device for you and issue you a replacement.


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