When a business utilizes any kind of technology, there will come a time when that technology needs to be replaced--which means that the business will need to be sure that any data on the old machines cannot be recovered. This, in turn, means that the machine’s hard drive must be destroyed. In order to be absolutely certain that this has been accomplished, it helps to lean on the guidelines established by HIPAA.
Why HIPAA is Important
HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, was intended to do two things: first, protect the health insurance coverage of workers as they change their employment, and secondly (and more relevant to this topic) to protect the availability and privacy of health data. Part of preserving the privacy of this health data is ensuring that there aren’t extra copies of it lying around, waiting to be recovered.
This is a particularly crucial point, as medical professionals maintain a considerable amount of their patients’ data on their systems. Should they simply throw out an old computer without dealing with the hard drive (or upgrade to a new drive without doing the same) they open themselves up to serious consequences and liabilities. For this reason, HIPAA includes requirements that these providers must follow to prevent this from happening.
Somewhat surprisingly, HIPAA doesn’t specifically outline any procedures for acceptable data destruction, although it does offer suggested methods. These range from magnetizing (or degaussing) the drive-in question to eliminate the data, to simply smashing it. Other common methods of destroying a disk drive involve running a drill through it.
However, to truly ensure your data security, you’ll want to take it a few steps further.
In order to really ensure your compliance to the standards outlined in HIPAA, it is best to lean on the resources of a professional. Rather than relying on blunt force trauma to destroy an unwanted drive, a pro can literally shred the drive with specialized equipment.
Ashton Technology Solutions can handle the disposal of your equipment on your behalf, allowing you to focus on putting your new solutions to work for your benefit. For more information, reach out to us at 216-397-4080.