How insurance companies recycle ewaste to avoid a data breach

It takes more, as a business today, to be in compliance and protect your customer’s data. Nearly every week there are stories of how customer data has been stolen from Company X or Company Y,  and Company Z is spending millions of dollars in mitigation efforts when Personally Identifiable Information (PII) data gets loose in the wild.


Companies Large and Small

It doesn’t matter the industry, as so many sectors rely on the internet and the cloud to store their data, all with assurances that it is protected from cyber-attacks. Data is also stored on the hard drives of laptops, printers, scanners and company cell phones. Companies large and small are spending significant amounts of money to make sure they are protected. But companies of any size often miss the opportunity that cyber attackers do not: when old computer equipment is replaced, PII data can go out the door with those computers, tablets, servers and even phone systems.  It’s referred to as electronic waste, end of life electronics or ewaste, and unless it is disposed of properly, cyber attackers will have access to your company, employee and customer’s personal data not fully wiped from these devices. Your company’s fiscal data, customer confidence and employee satisfaction could be compromised, hurting your bottom line.  And to some degree,  small businesses who didn’t consider themselves a target are as vulnerable as their larger brethren.

An Example of vulnerability: Insurance companies

Cyber attacks, while growing across the board, have focused primarily on banks, credit unions and investment firms. But recently there have been more attacks at large insurance institutions. For the most part these attacks are centered on large insurance companies that are already taking care of cyber security in as many ways as possible.  Some are even making sure their out of date equipment is scrubbed of data before it is replaced. But not all…and that practice may not go as far down the corporate food chain as it could or should.

Consider the vulnerability of a local insurance dealer. Often independent, working with a variety of insurance products, these offices are not often covered by any corporate ewaste recycling program, and yet the data at risk is present there as well.

Here’s the dangerous scenario:  

The insurance industry has just as much personal data as your average investment banker.  While the vast majority of that data is housed within the servers of these large companies, the data flows through the local agent. That local agent may not know that a cyber attacker could glean data from the old computers, smart phones, servers, and laptops that are not disposed of properly at the end of their lifecycle.

A safe solution to ewaste cyber attacks

Safely disposing of electronic waste that has held or even touched sensitive data is not as easy as the disposal of other old equipment.  And because of this situation, it is often not done completely.  Companies often do not know what the company they hired to refresh their computer systems does with the old equipment. To be safe from this cyberattack possibility, they should.

The first step to safely recycling old office electronic equipment is to arrange for proper ewaste disposal.  This means that electronic drives that could hold data are stored securely until they can be disposed of properly.  All this starts with hiring a company that is certified for ewaste disposal. That certification (referred to as an R2 certification), can give insurance companies some peace of mind that their customer’s data didn’t go out…with the trash.



Mayer Alloys Corporation, in partnership with OmniSource Electronics Recycling, an R2 Certified Recycler, provides peace of mind that you are disposing of your organization’s electronic waste safely and responsibly. All electronic waste is recycled in an R2 Certified facility. All hard drives are destroyed and Certificates of Destruction in compliance with Department of Defense (DoD) security standards are provided. For more information about electronic recycling check out our Ultimate Guide To Corporate Electronic Recycling and reach out to  for more information. Contact us today to see how we can meet your needs!

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