21 June 2011


BRISBANE – June 21, 2011 – Kroll Ontrack, the leading provider of information management,data recovery and legal technologies products and services, has issued a call for Australian consumers and enterprises to plan for how they retire old computers or systems when deploying next-generation IT infrastructure at the start of the new financial year.  

While many organisations at this time of year are in the process of rapidly purchasing and deploying new equipment, there is often little regard paid to ensuring that sensitive financial or confidential company information is permanently wiped from old computers or systems.  This can leave organisations vulnerable to major security breaches.

Many organisations still do not have a practical approach in place for properly disposing of their company’s old electronics and destroying confidential electronic data.  Earlier this month, Kroll Ontrack purchased a used laptop, desktop and server and performed tests in the company’s clean room in Brisbane to discover if any data still existed on the systems.

While all the hardware had been subjected to some type of data erasing, the three units had a combined total of approximately 170Gb of recoverable data.

Adrian Briscoe, general manager Asia Pacific, Kroll Ontrack, said, “We found data on the server and were able to identify its previous owner, which was a large multinational financial services company with offices in Sydney.  We did not extract, copy or access the data, and performed a quality data erasure of the machine. The server had previously only been partially wiped.

“The fact that IT equipment is being sold online without all the data being wiped should be a concern for the community at large.  With so much news circulating about computer security, companies need to incorporate a process to handle data from the cradle to the grave,” Briscoe said.

Kroll Ontrack previously performed tests on IT equipment purchased online three years ago.  The testing earlier this month highlights that not much has changed in terms of how data is wiped.
The server in question was advertised in the following condition:
‘This particular server has been owned by a U.S. corporation with offices in Sydney. Server is in very good cosmetic condition, has been tested and is fully working. Data on the system has been wiped.’

Solutions Available

Kroll Ontrack recommends that managers or IT personnel responsible for hardware disposal and data security look for a qualified vendor or select a do-it-yourself solution that is foolproof. Equipment should be erased at the companies’ premises.

The company also recommends that any do-it-yourself solutions follow recognised erasing standards such as US DoD 5220.22M or German VSITR and have reporting built in to record the process. An example of a product would be Ontrack Eraser Software (OES), which can be used across a LAN or WAN and is independent of operating system. The software can be used to erase data from systems ranging from cloud data centres to thumb drives, all with centralised reporting.

Solutions that make hard drives inoperable tend to use degaussing. Degaussing units subject the hard drive or magnetic media to an intense electromagnetic pulse that erases all the data from the media and renders the device fit only for recycling.  

“In today’s electronic information age, data wiping tools should be seen as a must regardless of the size of the organisation,” says Briscoe. “With many businesses now replacing PCs with tablets and allowing other mobile computing devices into their network, data wiping should be incorporated into business continuity plans as well as comprehensive IT security infrastructure programs.  When armed with the right information and the right tool, the process of safely discarding information and devices isn’t as complex as it may seem.”

Through its Ontrack Data Recovery products and services, Kroll Ontrack is the largest, most experienced and technologically advanced provider of data recovery products and services worldwide. Using its hundreds of proprietary tools and techniques, Ontrack Data Recovery solutions help businesses and consumers recover lost or corrupted data from all types of operating systems and media and storage devices through its do-it-yourself, remote and in-lab capabilities. Kroll Ontrack offers a free initial consultation for customers experiencing a data loss.

About Kroll Ontrack Inc.
Kroll Ontrack provides technology-driven services and software to help legal, corporate and government entities as well as consumers manage, recover, search, analyse, produce and present data efficiently and cost-effectively. In addition to its award-winning suite of software, Kroll Ontrack provides data recovery, data destruction, paper and electronic discovery, document review, computer forensics, secure information services, ESI and jury consulting, and trial presentation services. Kroll Ontrack is the technology services division of Kroll Inc., the global risk consulting company. Kroll is a subsidiary of Altegrity, an industry-leading provider of information solutions. For more information about Kroll Ontrack and its offerings please visit: www.ontrackdatarecovery.com.au

Media Contact

David Bass
Bass Public Relations
Tel: 61 2 9922 6820
Email: david@basspr.com.au