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Catawba's CIO Shares Data Security Tips for "Wiping the Hard Drive"

April 14, 2008

Category: Staff

by Joanna Jasper, Chief Information Officer at Catawba College

(Jasper is responsible for donating end-of-life computers and shares her experiences with data security technology and managing used technology in a secure and environmentally friendly way.)

Joanna JasperSecurity issues are on the minds of all CIOs these days. Whether the CIO of a 1,300-student liberal-arts college or that of a 13,000-employee Fortune 100 company, never before has the issue of data security been more important. Besides a record-breaking year of data breaches, legislation such as Sarbanes-Oxley, Gramm-Leach-Bliley and HIPAA mandates new security protocols that must be followed or violators face severe penalties.

At Catawba College, network, computer and information security concerns have been a major focus of our information technology work for the past several years, as evidenced by our campus-wide 802.1x network authentication and our CatNet Connect process to clean and secure student computers before allowing them to connect to the residence hall network.

As we faced the prospect of a hardware refresh for about 500 personal computers on campus, it was only natural for us to be concerned about how to dispose of the outgoing equipment in a secure and environmentally friendly way. For the environment's sake-and to benefit the community-we decided to donate our used equipment to a local organization that trains middle school and high school students to refurbish computers, which are then donated to needy families. From an information security perspective, it was essential that we ensure all confidential data was completely eliminated from the hard drives in a manner that would preserve the drives. Read more...