Best Practices for Disposing of Old Computers

Best Practices for Disposing of Old Computers

Newer and faster laptops, phones and tablets are being released every day it seems, but what are
we supposed to do with the outdated devices we no longer want to use? The security of proprietary
and personal information and environmental issues are the primary concerns when disposing of
unwanted computers. Here are some guidelines we recommend when phasing out computers from
your business or home.

Deleting a File Does Not Actually Erase Information

When you delete a file from the hard drive, the operating system only deletes the information that
describes where the file is located. Simply deleting files, emptying the recycle bin or reformatting the
hard drive is not enough to cover your digital tracks. In addition to documents, photos, videos, and
private information that is accessible on your computer; there is also your Internet browser’s cache,
cookies and history; email contacts and messages; and the recycle or trash folder.

Don’t take a chance with the security of your business and personal information. A Computer
Troubleshooters technician can complete any of the following strategies when trying to secure your
personal information on an old device.

The most cost-effective and commonly used strategy is the use of a software utility that overwrites the
hard drive with random characters and binary data anywhere from three to more than 30 times. These
utilities are typically referred to as data destruction software, hard drive eraser software or disk wipe
software.

Another effective but more costly solution is degaussing. This is the erasure of information through the
use of a powerful magnet. Degaussing disrupts the magnetic domains on the drive, which erases your
data while also rendering the drive permanently unusable.

The physical destruction of a hard drive is the only way to absolutely and forever ensure that the data
is no longer available. There are contractors who will perform this task on site, using the appropriate
tools and safety precautions. We do not recommend this type of hard drive destruction by consumers.

Donate or Recycle Your Old Computer

Extending the computer’s lifespan through re-use provides the highest environmental benefit.
There are many donation programs that bridge the digital divide by providing schools, non-profit
organizations, military personnel, low-income families and students with needed technology.

When you donate or recycle an unwanted computer, there are a lot of details you will need to be
concerned with such as; maintaining the security of information that was stored on the computer,
locating local technology recyclers and refurbishers, and tax guidelines for charitable donations. Don’t
feel overwhelmed by all of these details. Let your local Computer Troubleshooters take on the burden.
One of our professional technicians will be happy to explore the various options available to you when
deciding how best to dispose of an unwanted computer. Here are some considerations when donating
or recycling a computer:

  • If your computer is less than five years old chances are it can be put to good use. Most organizations have specific technology needs, so inquire in advance regarding donation guidelines.
  • Most charitable contributions are tax deductible and computers are no exception. Business donors can generally deduct the un-depreciated value of the computer and individuals can deduct the current market value of a computer. Remember to retain your receipt for tax records.
  • Consider donating your unwanted computer to a refurbisher who is equipped to repair and upgrade older computers. Certified refurbishers ensure that equipment works well and will pass on ready-to-use equipment at little or no cost to individuals and organizations. It is recommended that you remove your hard drive from any system that you donate to a refurbisher to ensure the security of your data.
  • Even if a computer cannot be reused or refurbished there are reputable technology recyclers that can ensure valuable raw materials are recovered from old computers and that any waste is disposed of in an environmentally-safe and responsible manner.
  • Let your local Computer Troubleshooters do all the work for you. Our technicians are trained experts in making sure your personal information is secure and responsibly disposing of unwanted devices.

Click here to contact your own Computer Troubleshooters technician.

How Cloud Computing Can Benefit Your Businesses

In New Zealand, business owners are always looking to squeeze even more productivity out of limited time, staffing and resources. Many New Zealand small businesses see cloud computing as a way to access advanced technologies that were previously affordable only for larger companies. A recent survey , stated that more than half of micro businesses (one to nine employees) and small businesses (ten to ninety-nine employees) use cloud-based business productivity applications. Analysts and industry leaders agree that global demand for hosted IT services will continue to expand rapidly as cloud-based solutions offer significant resolutions for organizations of all types and sizes. Can cloud computing services help your business succeed in the marketplace?

 Give Your Business a Competitive Edge

Finding the right business tools is an important task. Cloud computing can help your business edge out the competition with reduced costs and enhanced productivity in a number of ways:

  • The latest innovations in cloud computing are making business applications even more mobile and collaborative in ways similar to Facebook and Twitter. Consumers expect information in real time and more business applications in the cloud are heading in that direction.
  • Accessing specialized computer resources as they are needed enables businesses to quickly deliver quality results with greater affordability. Faster turn-around time can propel you ahead of your competition.
  • You can bring your product to market faster and generate higher revenues as customers are able to access the service immediately.
  • Cloud computing can enable innovative business initiatives that generate new value propositions and revenue streams. Some companies, such as Spotify, are building entirely new business models solely using cloud services.
  • Cloud computing services can help you gain “business agility” with efficient projects that allow your employees to spend their time on work that has a greater potential value to your business.
  • Utilizing cloud computing services can enable your business to shift from a capital expense model to an operational expense model. By forgoing long term financial IT commitments, an organization can complete projects more quickly without losing any investment.

Cloud computing might sound over-hyped and tech-heavy, but in reality it’s a rising trend among small business owners. If you want to learn more about the advantages of cloud computing for your business, contact your local Computer Troubleshooters office. One of our computer professionals will be happy to meet with you to explore the benefits of cloud computing for you and your business.

Welcome to our new Mobile Phone Compatible Website

We are so proud to launch our new Mobile Phone Compatible Website. This has been taken for a while to be developed.

As what we said on the Home page, we offer more than just computer repairs. We also do website and custom web development. If you have a website and you would like to make it Mobile Phone compatible, we are here to help. Don’t want to wait? Contact us now for a FREE no obligation quote.

Can Your Business Survive a Data Loss?

Many New Zealand businesses report that they are not properly prepared to combat the risk or to bounce-back in the event they suffer a catastrophic data loss. There are a number of factors that affect the majority of businesses today and may increase their susceptibility of a data loss:

  •  Business owners incorrectly assume that quality backup services are too expensive or beyond what they need.
  • Businesses are often using out of date technology for their data backup and storage needs and assume that it is working.
  • The number of online security threats has increased.
  • Many companies are trending towards BYOD- or “bring your own device”- and therefore there is an increasing amount of company and client data stored on employees’ personal laptops, smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, that is likely not protected or backed-up even if the company devices are.

What is the Real Cost of Data Loss to a Business Owner?

According to the Gartner Group 43 percent of companies were immediately put out of business by a major loss of computer records, and another 51 percent permanently closed their doors within two years. This leaves a mere six percent “survival” rate.

What about a loss that is not catastrophic? This type of data loss is an expensive problem as well that costs organizations an estimated average of $200 per record affected according to a recent survey by Ponemon Institute, though to some degree the true costs associated with data loss are difficult to measure.

What can be Done to Avoid a Catastrophic Data Loss?

Implementing a data protection program is essential for every organization. While most business owners recognize that their data files are their livelihood, more than half admit to not having a quality data backup protocol in place. Here are some tips on what you can start doing today to protect your business:

  • Accept the fact that your data is at risk. The reality is that computer hard drives, whether on a server, a desktop, or a laptop, will fail.
  • Invest now to save money, and your business, later. An automated and fully protected backup service starts at about $30 per month (depending on the amount of data being backed up) and provides you with the peace of mind that your data, and your business, are protected. The cost of attempting to recover deleted data, once lost, is significantly more expensive and is estimated that 20 percent of lost data is not recoverable!
  • If you do not have a data backup and recovery plan, get one! Call your local Computer Troubleshooter and request an evaluation of your data backup needs. They will then be able to provide you with options that will meet the specific needs of the business and your budget.
  • Check the viability of the backed up data regularly. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that your backups are being done, whether your company uses a manual or automated backup process. Also, never assume the data is retrievable. Talk with your Computer Troubleshooter technician about your current backup solution to verify that it is still the best option for your needs.
  • Make data protection a company-wide initiative. Work with your Computer Troubleshooter technician to develop policies and a plan of action for all employees to follow regarding the proper location and access to company data to ensure that data is being backed up as well.

A proactive approach to protecting your data and establishing a plan for recovery in the event of a loss is smart business. Ask your local Computer Troubleshooter about the best protective mechanisms for your data or for assistance with any of the above recommended tips before it is too late!

Data Backup and Data Recovery

It’s a call no one wants to make to their IT service provider. You’ve turned on your computer, and nothing happens. Undoubtedly, the voice on the other end of the line asks if you backed up your data. That’s when panic sets in.

No matter what got you into this situation, whether it’s a disaster that struck your office, a computer reaching the end of its lifespan, or an accident involving your computer, having a consistent backup plan in place is your only protection against the loss of one of your businesses most important assets – your customer records and transaction data.

 In fact, research shows that almost half (43%) of all businesses that suffer a catastrophic data loss will never reopen. Even more will be out of business within a year.

So what can you do to ensure your data’s safety?

Computer Troubleshooters offers a full line of data backup solutions for small and medium businesses that range from simple onsite backup procedures to fully automated online backup solutions No matter what your office and data needs are, we have a solution that fits you and your budget.

Some companies want a backup for the backup, especially in the cases of extreme disaster or power failure. For these clients, an onsite data server can be used along with an automated online solution to allow for maximum protection and the fastest recovery time possible if your office suffers a major catastrophe, which is incredibly important for companies who are dependent on data to operate.

If you have quality backup measures in place, then data recovery will generally be a quick and painless process and you should be up and running in no time. If you do not have a backup plan for your office, then recovering your data becomes a much more complicated process.

It is significantly more expensive to attempt to recover data, especially if there is a lot of physical damage to the hardware, than it is to have your data available in a safe location that simply needs to be retrieved. Also, there is no guarantee that the data will be found, or that what is retrieved will be accessible. Computer Troubleshooters does provide data recovery services, but would always recommend that all of their clients invest in a quality backup solution.

Protect your company by protecting your data today. Talk to your local Computer Troubleshooter about the best protection mechanisms for your data, or about any of your technology needs … before it’s too late!