By Gary Griffiths, Arrow Electronics\nHave you ever been told that your data was lost by an organization that was responsible for protecting it? I have. More than once. It is not a good experience. The first breach I suffered was from the finance company with which I had a mortgage on my family home. \u201cChange your passwords,\u201d I was told, along with 11 million other account holders whose details were stored on a stolen laptop.\nThe second time was an Internet hack into my broadband supplier\u2019s customer database. I have since received many calls from people claiming to be from this company, informing me I have a problem with my Wi-Fi or laptop and stating they need to remotely access my PC to fix it.\nTop data security challenges\nWe know that cybersecurity protects data stored on active computer systems, tablets, smartphones and other devices against security threats, such as malicious viruses, malware, phishing, botnets, ransomware, and more. But what happens when those data-bearing devices and equipment reach the end of the technology lifecycle? Can they still be reused safely? Should they be destroyed? What security precautions can organizations, and we as individuals, take to protect our data from falling into the hands of fraudsters and criminals?\nGetting rid of the data is an obvious choice. But quite often, businesses and individuals are unaware of how to do this securely and effectively.\nWith Microsoft Windows\u00ae operating systems on nine out of 10 computers in the world, deleting a file looks easy \u2013 but this does not remove the data. File deletion removes the entry header in a file allocation table \u2013 like removing covers from library books that remain on the shelves crammed with information. Windows also creates backup copies, and only the saved file is deleted. Even after one defrags drives, deletes files at command prompt and reformats drives, data can still be recovered. Shareware to recover data on damaged computers or files deleted accidentally can also be used to recover data people meant to delete.\nTo help, government security agencies have developed data sanitizing standards, including the US NIST 800-88.1 and older DoD 5222.2M standards, complemented by U.K., German and other government standards. These data sanitizing and data destruction standards specify requirements to overwrite every byte of storage space \u2014 breaking down any sectors and partitions \u2014 and testing to verify all data has been overwritten.\nSolving for data security \nWhen your data-bearing devices leave your location, they face a different kind of risk. At Arrow, we believe a critical element of any data security process is the permanent removal of data from technology assets at the end of the lifecycle.\nThat\u2019s why Arrow\u2019s Sustainable Technology Solutions processes are designed to protect you and your company from these new security risks. After drives are subjected to our secure data destruction processes and procedures, the bad guys no longer have a chance.\nGary Griffiths manages global partner compliance for Arrow Electronics, ensuring that Arrow and its global partners comply with local and international laws, regulations, and best practices. A Chartered Environmentalist and a Chartered Waste Manager with more than two decades\u2019 experience, Gary has expertise in\u00a0data security\u00a0and\u00a0compliance.