Should You Resell Your Hard Disk Drives?

pattern of 2 servers connected to each other with arrows

Posted on Tuesday, June 18, 2019

With the emergence of used hardware resellers, CTOs now have additional options for disposing of unwanted assets. Instead of sending systems to be recycled, residual value can be reclaimed by selling them on. 

Obviously, hardware disposal has to be done responsibly. In the same way you would choose a WEEE certified recycler (or similar), you need a resale partner you can trust. But you will still need to make some choices as you prepare your systems- including whether to leave the hard disk drives in place.

Always delete data first

It goes without saying that you must delete everything from your systems before sending them for recycling or resale. And more than simply formatting drives, they need to be completely overwritten to prevent data recovery. 

At this point you have the choice to sell the systems as complete working units, or to remove the hard drives. Including the drives may increase residual value, but is it a smart move?

A risk too far?

The truth is that every disk represents a risk. Can you be sure every drive has been completely overwritten? Have the engineers completed the necessary preparations, or will something be missed?

Allowing drives containing data to leave your organization could be a serious problem. A leak of intellectual property or sensitive data could have commercial implications. A leak of personal data could lead to a significant fine under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). 

The additional revenue created by reselling drives will not cover fines for breaching these data protection regulations, so is the risk really worth it?

In order to fully protect your business, the best option is probably to physically destroy the hard drives themselves, and sell the disk array chassis unpopulated, unless you can be completely sure that all data is deleted and unrecoverable.

If you’d like to learn more about secure hardware resale and how CDS can help, please give us a call.

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