Every day thousands of used mobile devices are being replaced as businesses and organizations upgrade to the newest mobile phones and tablets. Many of these still functioning devices end up collecting dust in desk drawers, storage closets or worse, local landfills. In addition, these used wireless devices frequently still contain confidential information. If you do not have a careful asset recovery and recycling plan in place, the confidential information contained on your devices may become exposed.

Implementing a strategic and secure method for recycling outdated smartphones and tablets will not only protect telecom budgets but also private company data. e-Cycle outlines a few best practices to ensure sensitive business data remains secure during mobile buyback and recycling of retired devices.

  • Do not trust your employees or third-party software with data deletion. Even after resetting a device to factory settings, private data can still remain on the device including contact information, passwords and pin numbers. Partner with certified mobile phone buyback and recycling companies that have rigorous processes in place to permanently remove the data as well as secondary quality assurance testing. e-Cycle is the first mobile phone buyback and recycling company to achieve e-Stewards, ISO 14000 and R2 certification and provide the industry’s highest standards and practices for protecting your private mobile data.
  • Read your mobile phone buyback and recycling partner’s terms and conditions and ensure they guarantee complete data security. Although many recyclers claim mobile data deletion, most accept no responsibility for data deletion and state that it is the sole responsibility of the organization. Certified mobile buyback and recycling companies will guarantee specific mobile data wiping processes, quality assurance practices, facility security, employee screening policies and liability insurance.
  • Ensure your mobile phone buyback and recycling company tests for active phone lines. Accidentally retiring devices that still have active service plans causes a serious security risk and financial losses due to continued data transmissions and carrier service charges. Be sure your chosen wireless recycling company includes active phone line testing as part of their services and that they provide a complete list of devices (with phone numbers) that are found active.
  • Work with e-Stewards certified mobile asset-recovery and recycling companies. The U.S. EPA estimates 70 to 80 percent of electronics recyclers directly or indirectly ship e-waste to developing countries. Once there, unethical methods such as open-acid baths and open-air burning are used to extract precious metals and dispose of e-waste. Additionally, organized criminals in these countries often collect the private data found on mobile smartphones and tablets. Make certain your chosen wireless recycling company adheres to the highest environmental standards for the responsible recycling and reuse of wireless devices.
  • Avoid “destroy only” policies. Destroying reusable mobile phones and tablets is bad for the environment and your budget. In an effort to battle the mobile security threats that retired devices pose, some companies develop a mobile ‘destroy-only’ policy. This physical destruction of reusable devices results in lost revenues, additional disposal expenses, energy waste and increased greenhouse gas emissions. Extending the service life of a mobile phone from one to four years makes a 40 percent more positive environmental impact than recycling alone.

If your company has a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy in place, make certain employees discard their used personally owned devices securely and responsibly by partnering with a trusted wireless buyback and recycling company that purchases devices directly from individuals. There are numerous less-than-reputable consumer buyback companies that offer little assurance of data security and resell used mobile devices on eBay, Craigslist and other online sites. Many of these buyback companies work in unsecure buildings and do not conduct security checkpoints or employee background screenings. Finding a secure mobile buyback and recycling partner that will compensate your employees for protecting your sensitive data and the environment is critical to keeping your sensitive data out of the wrong hands and protecting your corporate reputation and brand.

e-Cycle helps businesses take a more responsible, secure and profitable approach to mobile phone and tablet recycling by purchasing wireless devices that retain value and recycling all others at no charge. The information on every device is deleted or destroyed using the industry’s most rigorous data security measures. In January 2012, e-Cycle became the first mobile buyback and recycling company in the world to become e-Stewards certified. For more information on secure mobile buyback and recycling, visit www.e-Cycle.com.

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