Disposing of computers
If you have a computer with work data on the hard disk that you need to retain, copy it across to the server prior to deleting it. If you have a PC and wish to transfer data, settings and user profiles to another PC, you can download a free Microsoft utility called PCmover Express here. You could also back up all unsaved data in the cloud.
Fully erase the hard disk(s) so that any confidential personal information is completely deleted. However, simply deleting files is not enough to permanently erase them. Instead, use a dedicated file deletion program or service, or physically destroy the hard drive to render it unusable. Alternatively, if the hard drive is still serviceable and reliable, you could re-house it in an external case with power supply and USB connection and use it to back up or exchange your data.
CDs, DVDs, memory cards, USB sticks and other USB connected devices may also contain your sensitive data and care should be taken that they are removed. If appropriate, dispose of them with equal care.
If the computer equipment is at the end of its life and not to be re-used by you, a colleague or anybody else, it should be dismantled and the components recycled correctly and responsibly by a proper disposal facility if available.
Disposing of smartphones & tablets
Ensure that any data or settings you need are copied from your device by syncing it with its associated computer – or backing it up to the cloud – then restoring it to factory settings.
In the case of Android devices you must enable encryption before applying the factory reset. Apple iPhones already feature hardware encryption by default – a feature that cannot be user-disabled. To be completely sure that your data and settings are deleted, however, download and use a reputable data deletion tool.
If the device is at the end of its life and not to be re-used by you, a colleague or anybody else, it should be dismantled and, if possible, the components recycled correctly and responsibly by a proper disposal facility.