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Data Breach – A Scenario Worth Avoiding

A data breach can do untold damage to organisations of any size. Learn about one scenario that can easily be avoided.

After many years, the ABC Shipping Company* had accumulated several thousand hards drives worth of data. These hard drives of course were now getting rather old. Since hard drives do not last for ever, in some cases less than 5 years, it was deemed wise to transfer all the data to newly purchased hard drives and dispose of the old ones.

Now the process of copying/moving data to new hard drives comes with the risk of both data loss and data breaches. It can also be an expensive and time consuming exercise, especially where many hard drives are involved.

Now ABC Shipping Company had been around for many years and had been operating quite successfully. They knew their data was valuable and needed to be stored safely. They also knew that there were risks associated with transferring their data.

ABC Shipping Company therefore started out smart. They purchased excellent quality replacement hard drives and took the time to work out the process of copying their data from their old hard drives to their new ones.

In the end the process of copying data to new hard drives went very well and they experienced no problems.

ABC Shipping Company makes a fatal mistake

As mentioned, the process of transferring data to new hard drives took the risks of data loss and data breach into account. The process went well and everything looked good.

Then one person’s bright idea sunk their ship, if you’ll forgive the pun.

You see ABC had spent a considerable amount of money or purchasing new hard drives and managing the process of data transfer and data breach mitigation. The cost of getting rid of the old hard drives however, was somehow overlooked.

ABC approached a number of data destruction companies. Most of these were found to be ‘out of budget’ by ABC’s financial director. One company stood out as being very inexpensive. When they enquired about the reasons for this the company was told that rather than destroying all the hard drives, the company was able to erase the data from hard drives that were not too old and resell them as used hard drives.

Without thinking about this, ABC’s financial director thought this was a great idea and immediately signed off on project.

What Happened Next…

Some months later, ABC Shipping Company received a legal document. They were being sued for releasing data about one of their biggest client’s.
To say that they were shocked was an understatement. They were in fact totally bewildered about this data breach.

After some investigation and enquiries they discovered that someone had purchased nearly fifty used hard drives off an e-commerce website. These hard drives were traced back to the data destruction company that had offered them such a great deal because they ‘resell’ the hard drives after ‘erasing all the data’.

Of course, that was not in fact true. They only erased some of the hard drives and could not be bothered to erase the rest and then they dumped them on the market.

The Results…

In the end it was found that data concerning a number of clients was released due to the data breach. Information containing personal details about many of ABC’s staff was also exposed.

In the end, ABC found themselves on the receiving end of multiple lawsuits and the accompanying bad press resulted in many other client’s cancelling their accounts with them.

Six month’s later, funds drying up and with a reputation in tatters, ABC Shipping Company closed its doors.

The Moral of the story…

Your data is incredibly valuable and contains a lot of sensitive information. Trying to cut corners is not worth the risk. While everyone likes a good deal, when a deal looks too good it usually is.

ABC found out the hard way and paid for it. Shouldn’t you be smarter and take the time to choose your data destruction partner more carefully?


*ABC Shipping Company is fictional and used in this article in order to create a fictional scenario. Any similarity to an actual company is coincidental.


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