Selling Second-Hand Devices: The Last Stage Of Data Security


Kroll Ontrack, the data recovery and ediscovery services provider, is supporting one of the UK's oldest and largest pawnbroker networks to ensure data protection compliance for second-hand mobile devices including tablets, laptops and phones.

A solution built by Kroll Ontrack that includes Dell hardware and Blancco Mobile erasure software has been implemented in 198 stores and is being used to manage 400,000 erasures each year.

Originally established in 1897, H&T Pawnbrokers provides a range of services including Buyback Electronics. This service allows customers to generate cash from unwanted or unused mobile devices and games consoles. Customers can take a device into one of H&T's retail stores, receive an agreed payment then buy it back for a small fee after 31 days. During this time devices are stored securely at the retailer's premises.

If the owner decides not to buy the device back, it needs to be made compliant with Data Protection regulation in line with Finance Conduct Authority (FCA) guidelines. As part of that exercise, H&T Pawnbrokers needs to record details of every device on a central catalogue together with certification that the

data previously held on the device has been safely erased. Staff within each retail store use the management console to securely erase each device before it is presented for resale.

Robbie Fowle, Head of Marketing at H&T Pawnbrokers said: "We were looking for a new way to erase customer data from mobiles, tablets and laptops. We needed to ensure it was streamlined, cost-effective and fully accredited. We also needed a standard console that would work in tandem with current

systems and processes. We trusted the Kroll Ontrack brand and felt assured by its reputation as a global leader in data services as well as its ability to support us with training and support. The solution means we are able to deal with customer data in line with FCA regulation."

Phil Bridge, Managing Director of Kroll Ontrack, commented: "Like many organisations, H&T faces significant challenges with remaining compliant with Data Protection regulation, which is a key requirement from the FCA. The significant growth in demand for H&T Pawnbrokers' Buyback service meant it

needed an effective way to manage the data erasure process. We are delighted to provide the solution and support required to manage compliance effectively."

Last year Kroll Ontrack and its partner Blancco recently undertook a research study called Privacy for Sale to find out how much data could be found on second-hand devices. Researchers examined 122 pieces of second-hand equipment purchased online, and found that 48 per cent of hard disk drives and

solid state drives contained residual data, while thousands of leftover emails, call logs, texts/SMS/IMs, photos and videos were retrieved from 35 per cent of the mobile devices.

Upon closer examination, researchers discovered that a deletion attempt had been made on 57 per cent of the mobile devices and 75 per cent of the drives that contained residual data, showing that even returning devices to factory settings does not necessarily erase personal information.

By using a reliable deletion solution, such as the one provided by Kroll Ontrack, H&T customers can rest assured that the sanitisation of their device is compliant with current regulations and that their personal data remains secure via a permanent deletion.

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