Data Security and Decommissioning in a 5G and Streaming World

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The next generational data network, 5G, has long been establishing its foundation that will be built upon for years to come, and the affected industries will start to engage in the necessary changes to take advantage and keep up with the latest tech.

The transition from 4G to 5G networks will be transformative in the way consumers are able to access their data. The speed of web browsing will increase. Streaming data from movies, TV shows, games and music will see an increase in speed, graphical fidelity and more. Enthusiasts will start to target 8K video over 4K. Denser data will be uploaded, downloaded and shared at greater speeds and in more places than ever before.

5G will also usher in a new era of interconnectivity between smart objects. Smart cars that communicate with each other and traffic signals will be on the road in a few years. Smart houses with incredible interconnection will be controllable from cellphones and watches with little to no latency. On an even larger scale, entire cities will now have the tools at their disposal to make interconnected smart communications that can monitor systems in real time with these increased speeds and low latency.

For consumers of digital media and content creators, this 5G rollout is exciting news. For businesses that store and handle data, however, this transition will present some costly, high security risk challenges. One often overlooked risk in the digital age comes in the form of data disposal and destruction. With the growing threat to cybersecurity, where an attempted attack happens every 39 seconds, physical end-of-life destruction is often treated as a less immediate concern. The fact is that the improper disposal of physical media can lead to devastating effects to government entities, individual companies, organization, and consumers.

Data Centers: Staying Ahead and Staying Secure

As the 5G rollout continues, data centers will find themselves scaling in parallel to the coverage and speeds of 5G. Existing data centers are presented with the challenge of not only maintaining the existing data that is housed, but also keeping the technology used to store that digital information up-to-date. In the largest data centers around the world, there are upwards of 10,000 individual drives that make up the storage of just one single location. While large, these numbers pale in comparison to the total amount that large data providers actually house across all of their locations globally. Not only do those locations hold all of the hosted data, they also store multiple copies of all of that data as a failsafe. So, when the decision is made to start the process of replacing drives, it can be a time-consuming, costly project.

Replacing now obsolete devices can also be a risk for a company, as replacing data allows for more chances of data leakage. That is why it is imperative that, when these drives are replaced, they are also safely and securely physically destroyed, ensuring complete confidence that no data leaks or breaches can occur. Data breaches have been on the rise in the United States over the last decade, skyrocketing from 157 million recorded data breaches in 2005 to over 1.6 billion through 2017. These breaches can result in large fines, a destroyed public image, and a loss of income that can take years to repair, with some companies struggling to ever recover.

Additionally, the demand for faster and denser data will ultimately drive the creation of brand-new data centers to aid in storing and moving the colossal amount of data consumed by companies and consumers. As these new buildings are constructed, data disposal procedures may not be at the top of the list of concerns because the technology used during construction will be as modern as it can be. But replacing drives does not only occur when they become obsolete, but when they have an error and fail as well.

Safest Means of Destruction

The safest method to physical destruction is to have end-of-life data destruction machines at data centers. By having equipment on-site, a data center can control who internally has access to the drives and ensure that they are only handled by a limited number of highly vetted employees. Third party companies exist that offer off-site destruction, but when it comes to housing the amount of information that data centers hold, it is more cost-effective and far more secure to limit the number of people involved.

It is critical for companies to acknowledge and address the security challenges that these changes will present as old media is replaced, and having a proper plan and policy will be crucial to a secure transition. Establishing the necessary industry regulations and having compliant data destruction equipment on-site can eliminate unnecessary risk and reduce the chances of a data breach or leak. Planning now can protect the future of consumers, data centers, and individual companies as the transition to the future begins.

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