Dispose of data, equipment securely with new service

Clearing data off your computer? Just hit delete, right? Wrong, says Matt Haschak of the University’s Information Security Office. Although deleted items no longer appear on your screen, they continue to lurk on the hard drive and are easily accessible to unscrupulous predators.

The University is now offering a new service, Data Destruction and Recycling, that rids computers of sensitive information such as bank account and Social Security numbers and medical information. It also disposes of personal computers and accessories safely so the hazardous components, such as heavy metals and toxic chemicals, do not wind up in landfills.

Personal items that can be recycled include computers, monitors and mice, keyboards, printers, laptops and external devices. Only one computer may be brought in at a time. For larger quantity disposal, call 2-8618 or email

The service is free to all BGSU faculty, staff and students for their personal computers and accessories including hard drives, floppy and zip disks, flash drives, USB drives, CDs and DVDs, tapes and media cards. Haschak encourages the campus to make use of the service, “especially if they ever used their home computers and devices to access University systems.”

He also reminds the campus that when disposing of BGSU work-related files, it is necessary to follow your area’s Records Retention Schedule.

There are only two guaranteed ways to completely eliminate data from devices. The first is to use special software to “wipe” or “sanitize” the device. The second is to physically destroy the device beyond reconstruction. The security office will format all devices to Department of Defense standards if possible; if not, the items will be destroyed.

In addition, high-volume paper shredding can be arranged by the Center for Archival Collections.

The Information Security Office is in 137 Hayes Hall. For a schedule of hours and drop-off times, visit

For more information on the program, go to

March 16, 2009