Is E-Waste a Risk Worth Considering for Your Business?
Electronic waste (e-waste) is at a global tipping point, with countries all around the world increasingly throwing out more and more electronics as the business world becomes more and more digital. This is, in essence, a global problem for many reasons, but there are risks that it poses both to individuals as well as organisations as well that need to be considered.
A risk management strategy should always contain a detailed component with regards to cybersecurity, including e-waste disposal and management. How can your business assess and manage risks from e-waste?
What are the Risks of E-Waste to Organisations?
Many decades ago when computers were less prevalent in the business world, organisations still committed considerable resources to managing the risks of data security and data breaches. In those days, and even today, this mostly involved paper document shredding.
As the world has become digitised and computers and electronics are now prevalent, their safe and secure disposal is essential. Improper e-waste disposal poses a significant risk to organisations for many similar reasons as unshredded paper did in the good ol’ days.
There are two main risks involved with e-waste disposal:
Environmental: e-waste contains many rare earth minerals like beryllium, mercury, and cadmium which leach into ground soils and pollute landfills in Australia and worldwide.
Data security: e-waste may contain sensitive data that can be accessed with little to no effort by cyber criminals, thus causing potentially crippling data breaches.
The Cost of Data Breaches
Every year, we hear of more and more data breaches of increasing magnitude affecting everything from large corporations to government institutions. In the past few years, savvy cyber criminals have also been going after small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
The time to pay attention as a risk management professional is right now. Data breaches are increasing both in severity as well as frequency.
A study from the UK in 2021 revealed that nearly four out of every 10 businesses had suffered from a data breach in the past year. While many of these came from phishing and network attacks such as malware, a considerable number came from the criminal gaining unauthorised access such as from discarded hard drives or laptops.
Moreover, the cost of a data breach has reached an all-time high, according to IBM. Organisations in 2021 have paid an average of $4.24 million USD (nearly $6 million AUD) for data breaches, not to mention the loss in reputation and credibility with clients and customers.
How to Deal With E-Waste Disposal
For many organisations, the complex logistics and processes involved in safe, thorough data destruction are outsourced to specialised IT asset disposition (ITAD) companies. These companies will help to securely destroy all sensitive data so that it is rendered completely irretrievable.
Risk management professionals should always budget a significant section of their cybersecurity risk strategy towards ITAD - no matter whether it’s performed in-house or outsourced to an ITAD company.
Furthermore, risk management teams should choose a robust suite of software that is secure and cloud-based with a stellar reputation such as Risk Wizard. Our software can be customised to account for the management of IT risks, including e-waste.
Don’t discount the importance of e-waste to a cybersecurity risk strategy. Choose Risk Wizard and obtain a free trial today.