Dispose of High Risk 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 high-risk data. Follow recommend procedures to be sure that it's really gone for good.
On your computer
Before disposing of high-risk data, you must find it. At Cornell we use Identity Finder to do this. See Find high-risk 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 high-risk 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.