How safe is your customer data?

Secure Data Destruction from Scan Film or StoreThere seems to be almost monthly press coverage about a household name having to apologise and reassure its customers that their personal data is safe after a successful hacking attempt on its website or computer systems.

The positive piece in this is that it is raising the general awareness to businesses and consumers of the risks inherent in holding personal information on websites, social media channels and other online systems.

This should ensure that businesses in particular increase their investment in protecting customer data held in this way from this kind of attack.



What’s often forgotten about with these high profile cases is that there is a significant amount of personal client data held in other formats and on other medium which is also at risk of being accessed or falling into the wrong hands. Personal information held as paper records in filing cabinets or cupboards, on laptops, PCs, phones and other electronic devices as well as external hard drives and memory sticks is all vulnerable and needs to be protected.

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This microfiche will self destruct in 30 seconds!

secure microfiche destructionIn spy novels ensuring top secret information is securely destroyed once no longer in use is easy…. a brief recorded message and then up it goes in smoke!

If only it was that easy to protect unwanted data held on Microfilm and Microfiche from getting into the wrong hands in the real world.

New digital technology provides a more secure alternative to organizations such as banks, hospitals and government bodies for storing sensitive and confidential data but many still hold vast amounts of out of date data on these older media that needs to be securely destroyed.

Incineration will ensure the total destruction of both the microfiche or microfilm and the data held on it however, the intense heat created during the incineration process and pathogens released means that it must be handled by a specialist company such as Scan Film or Store.

Additionally, the sensitive nature of the information held and the obligations on the organizations holding it to comply with data security legislation means that they require a specialist partner to plan and manage the entire process in order to provide the necessary audit trail.


It is our expertise in the field of high security data destruction that led to our involvement in the top secret project below:

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How safe is data held on old hard drives?

tcrn113hDid you know that 31st March is World Backup Day?

I am sure that like me you ALL back up your data regularly (yeah, right!) but
when the time comes to replace outdated PC’s or external hard drives how do you ensure that your precious data is not going to end up being accessed by criminals?

In a recent survey less than 25% of businesses across the UK said that they
were shredding their computer hard drives. Over half the businesses thought
that erasing, wiping or degaussing their hard drives before recycling them
would completely obliterate the data  and protect their confidential
information from being stolen or misused. To complete the statistics 14% said
that they simply recycled their electronic media without even wiping the data
and 12% said that they had no idea how their business disposed of it’s out of
date or obsolete computers, data storage devices or smartphones. When asked a staggering 72% of businesses did not know that most photocopiers have an electronic memory that can be used to reproduce exact images of all documents that have been copied on that machine using forensic software programmes (available free online).

It’s a fact that the only way to completely destroy data held electronically is to destroy the hardware that carries the data.

Methods of destruction vary from incineration to turning hard drives into minute metal fragments ( for more information see here)

“It would never happen in our company”

You may think that but a hospital trust was recently fined £325,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office after hard drives were stolen which contained sensitive information on thousands of patients and staff. The hard drives were sold on eBay and personal data such as NI numbers and home addresses was easily retrieved from those hard drives by the buyers (see Large scale data breaches are fairly rare within the public sector but you may have noticed that they are occurring with increased regularity lately? However it may surprise you to learn that the UK’s private sector accounted for more than a third of all reported data breaches in 2012 (see .

It is estimated that 80% of corporate laptops and desktops contain sensitive data and that the average cost to rectify a single record breach is £142 in compensation and management/staff  time. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) recently tested 158 used hard drives and recovered 92% of sensitive information included credit card numbers, emails, medical records, names and contact numbers.

So what can you do?

It is worth implementing some best practices in your workplace to avoid data theft, including:

  • Avoid stockpiling unused hard drives particularly in unsecured locations
  • Regularly clean out hardware storage facilities
  • Destroy all unused hard drives using reputable specialist providers who have a secure chain of custody which will provide you with peace of mind and will ensure that your data is kept out of the hands of fraudsters
  • Regularly review your organisation’s information security policy to incorporate new and emerging forms of electronic media

Scan Film or Store will permanently destroy all types of your electronic media utilising a secure chain of custody including collection by our own staff in our own vehicles, recording of the items serial numbers at point of collection and will issue a Certificate of Destruction for your files detailing what has been destroyed. Destruction methods vary according to the media type i.e. hard drives are turned into tiny metal chips whereas microfilm and magnetic computer tape is incinerated.(learn more about our services here )

We can destroy:

  • Hard Drives ( from any kind of desktops or laptops)
  • Backup Magnetic Tapes (any kind of DLT, mini cartridges etc)
  • Floppy Disks (both 3.5 and 5.25 inch disks)
  • Memory Sticks/ Flash Drives/ Portable External Hard Drives
  • Zip Disks (any size)
  • Optical Media (CD’s, DVD’s, Blu Ray and HD DVD’s)

If you would like some free advice on how to protect your unused data please contact us here