3 Kinds Of Information Your Educational Institution Needs To Securely Destroy

Sharing personal and confidential data is a huge part of our lives today. But what do you do with all the sensitive information that are no longer required and are stored in different forms in an educational institution? This is specifically a problem for colleges and higher education universities. Such information must be discarded in a safe and secure manner to avoid any associated privacy breach.

Here are the 3 kinds of information your educational institution needs to securely destroy:

Sensitive and classified research

Every year several universities and colleges work on confidential and sensitive research projects which are either private or government-funded research that require to be disposed of in a highly secure manner. Such classified information needs to be protected from acts of unauthorized disclosure that may cause damage to an institution or government body.

Student’s personal information

When students enroll for a course in an educational institution, they provide a lot of personal information through the application process related to their private contact information, fee payment, health records, transcripts and supporting documents that are highly sensitive in nature. This information can be classified under Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and Personal Health Information (PHI). Under the privacy laws in Canada, every college and university are bound to ensure that that the information provided by and in relation to students is kept private. The information must be protected and discarded in a secure manner if the information provided is no longer needed by the institution.

Faculty’s personal information

Besides student’s personal information, educational institutions hold a huge database of their staff and faculty’s Personal Identifiable Information. This information is also subjected to be destroyed in a similar manner as a student’s PII.

How is this data destroyed?

Personal data resides on many forms of media, including but not restricted to paper, hard drives, data tapes, optical disks, and more. Paper records can easily be destroyed by feeding the end-of-life documents into a paper shredder. Several institutions use in-house cross-cut paper shredders for this purpose while others may deploy an external service provider to shred the paper.

When an institution utilizes third-party service to destroy their paper documents, they are typically stored in a locked cabinet or receptacle that only the external service provider has access to. While these documents are securely stored in the meantime, it is always recommended to destruct your data in-house to ensure secure destruction. By opting for a third-party vendor to handle your end-of-life destruction, the number of safety risks can be endless. A vendor encounters more instances to mishandle, misuse, or even lose drives and/or paper when in transportation, being sorted by staff, and in the actual process of destruction and disposal.

On the downside, many college applications are now submitted virtually through institutions’ online portals or other associated applications. In addition, most of the sensitive and confidential data gathered through research, students or faculty are also stored in electronic forms. This means that the destruction of such electronic media is a quite challenging. There are also third-party vendor services that execute this function, but they do come with their own setbacks.

For hard drives, it is a best practice to degauss any end-of-life drive prior to destruction. Degaussers use powerful magnetic fields to sanitize the magnetic storage media which renders the drive completely inoperable. This can potentially benefit an institution as it saves more time and money in the long run by preventing a breach of any kind and ensuring all forms of sensitive and personal information stays safe.

Information Security End-of Life Solutions

Paystation offers industry leading, high security confidential document destruction equipment which are designed to ensure data destruction of classified and highly sensitive information. With an array of different high-quality NSA listed/CUI and unclassified magnetic media degaussers, IT crushers, and enterprise IT shredders, Paystation has a secure solution to meet any regulation.

Contact us today to help you determine which equipment will best suit your institution’s destruction needs.