Dispose of Confidential Data
This article applies to: Security & Policy
Old information is risky information! Watch out for and regularly dispose of unneeded information:
- Social Security numbers used as general identifiers (this was often the case in the past)
- Data you think you've disposed of, lurking in backups
- Files from previous users on shared computers
There are right and wrong ways to dispose of confidential data. Follow recommend procedures to be sure that it's really gone for good.
On your computer
Before disposing of confidential data, you must find it. At Cornell we use Identity Finder to do this. See Find Confidential Data on my Computer. Identity Finder securely destroys files when you shred them, so using Identity finder is the best choice.
Destroy documents using a secure disposal service or a cross-cut shredder. See Handle Paper Documents with Confidential Data.
On old hardware (computers and devices)
Whenever possible, we recommend using Cornell's FREE R5 service to safely destroy media. See Safely Dispose of Old Computers and Devices.