Spring cleaning cyber hardware

By Rebecca Bole on April 17, 2014

I moved into a new office this week, which is not hugely momentous in itself – people do it all the time.

For those that have moved office recently, you’ll recognize the usual gripes: “I don’t have a view out of the window any more,” “I don’t like facing the door,” “I had hoped to avoid sitting next to XXX because he sings to himself all day,” etc., etc…

It has been 7 years since the last office move for my London colleagues and of course, there was a lot of paper to move (in a “paperless office”!) and the usual network and telephone connectivity issues that always occur.

But one thing that really struck me in this move was the amount of redundant computer hardware that had been accumulated over the course of just 7 years – each person had undergone at least one PC upgrade in that time and subsequently most had ditched the PCs to move to laptops.

So in an office of about a dozen people, there were more than 20 redundant computers lying around the office. And the office manager was tasked with how to de-activate all the hard-drives and safely destroy the data held in them.

It got me to thinking about Advisen’s data on where data breaches occur. Understandably, the vast majority of data breaches today occur via websites or servers (around 88 percent). Less than 8 percent is taken from hard drives, laptops, thumb drives and CD Roms.

But if you put that into the context of the estimated $800 million cost of data breaches each year, the humble computer hardware costs businesses around $64 million each year.

That’s a thought to bear in mind when doing that office spring-clean…

Rebecca Bole is EVP & Editor-in-Chief at Advisen. She has nearly 20 years of experience in the international insurance markets, both as an underwriter and a journalist. Contact Rebecca at rbole@advisen.com.