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Disposing of Old Mobile Devices? Your Data Could Be at Risk

Disposing of Old Mobile Devices? Your Data Could Be at Risk

by Stephanie Faris on Monday, March 23 6:00



Many businesses are well aware that their desktops, laptops, and servers contain traces of sensitive data, even when files are removed. But many don t think about the same traces of data that reside on their smartphones. As businesses increasingly rely on mobile devices for conducting business, IT movers have seen more questions than ever about mobile device disposal.

Instead of simply disposing of old devices at a designated electronics recycling facility, businesses have found there are many other great ways that they can recycle electronics. Companies now pay for old devices, which they then may sell at a higher rate online. Businesses can get the most money if they sell the devices themselves on a site like eBay or Craigslist, but these companies make it easy and convenient. Since your device will likely be purchased by a complete stranger for use, however, you should consider how dangerous it is to leave traces of data on them. For that reason, you should take measures to protect yourself as much as possible.

Unlock Your Device

If your smartphone or tablet is connected to a carrier (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, etc.), you ll usually command a higher dollar amount by having it unlocked before you sell it. Once unlocked, it can be connected to the carrier of a purchaser s choosing, widening its customer base. An AT&T customer won t bid on a Verizon phone on a site like eBay, for instance, which keeps bids lower than they would have been had the device been unlocked. Most carriers allow devices to be unlocked once a contract is paid in full. If you have a business account with multiple devices on contract, check with your carrier to see their requirements.

Reset to Factory Settings

Mobile devices have a built-in resource to wipe your phone. This is usually accessed through the settings menu under the terminology of factory reset. IT movers recommend either conducting a cloud backup or hook up to a computer and back up your data before you do so, as well as making sure your backup will easily transfer to your new devices. Ideally you ll have your new smartphone or tablet in hand before you offload the old one.

Remove Your SIM Card

Even after your factory reset, however, data could reside on your SIM card. Sites like Gazelle instruct you to do this before you send it to them, since your SIM card can contain some of that critical information you re trying to protect. Depending on the type of new devices you ve purchased, you may be able to simply set a policy that SIM cards should be moved from old devices to new before selling. Server movers have found that this makes setting up your new devices easier for you or your IT staff, while also protecting your company from a data breach.

Computer movers regularly encounter questions about getting rid of old mobile devices. When you take the right steps in advance, you ll be able to make extra money off your old smartphones and tablets while also keeping your data safe.

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