Protect Your Sensitive Business Data When Selling or Recycling Used Mobile Phones and Tablets

Jan 30, 2013 9:30am

The following is a guest blog from e-Cycle.

Enterprises have come to rely on smartphones and tablets for their day-to-day business and consequently mobile devices contain an abundance of private data. As businesses and organizations upgrade to the newest wireless devices, every day thousands of used mobile devices are being replaced and companies run the risk of inadvertently compromising confidential internal information contained on these devices. 

When selling used wireless devices, organizations need to ensure that their mobile data remains secure. If not properly processed, the private company data contained on these iPhones, Androids and BlackBerrys could be exposed. Companies need to implement a strategic and secure method for recycling outdated smartphones and tablets that will not only protect their telecom budgets but also their sensitive information.

  • Work with a mobile phone buyback and recycling company that tests for active phone lines. Accidentally retiring devices that still have active service plans causes a serious security risk due to continued data transmissions. It also often results substantial financial losses due to unnecessary carrier service charges. Be sure your wireless recycling partner 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.
  • Do not trust third-party software with data deletion. Often, human error occurs during the deletion process and inadequate data wiping software does not clean the phones of all the private information. In addition, even after resetting a device to factory settings, applications and hidden menus still remain containing sensitive data, including owner contact information, passwords and pin numbers. An estimated 95 percent of used mobile phones and devices still contain important data, even though the organizations claim that they took the necessary steps to delete all pertinent information*. Be certain your mobile buyback and recycling company has rigorous processes in place to permanently remove the data on every device as well as secondary quality assurance testing.
  • If your company has a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy in place, make certain your organization partners with a trusted wireless buyback and recycling company to ensure your employees discarding their used devices securely and responsibly. There are numerous less-than-reputable consumer buyback companies that offer little assurance of data security and resell used devices on eBay, Craigslist and other online sites. Many of these buyback companies work in un-secure buildings (even home garages) and do not conduct security checkpoints or employee background screenings. Additionally, many of these companies either directly or indirectly ship broken devices and accessories into landfills in the U.S. or overseas. 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 organizations take a more responsible, secure and profitable approach to wireless mobile phone recycling. For more information on secure mobile buyback and recycling, visit