Why a factory reset isn’t enough for your business devices

Why a factory reset isn't enough
Table of Contents

When we want to clear the data on our mobiles, laptops, and computers, we often opt for the device’s factory reset button. But does this function really protect our sensitive data?

What a factory reset does to a phone

The primary purpose of the factory reset function is to return a device to the settings and standard operation to which it was when it first left the factory. 

‘This resets all the device settings as well as the applications and stored memory, and is typically done to fix major errors and operating system issues.’ – Clarabyte

A factory reset is often used to fix operational issues and improve performance. Some issues fixed by a reset can be:

  • Freezing or crashing.
  • Slow response times.
  • Errors and operating system issues.

Although many of us trust the process of our device’s factory reset function, it can offer false confidence that your data is gone when it is still recoverable. The reset of a phone or device does leave some data stored on your hard drive. This data can potentially then be extracted and recovered by cybercriminals with the right software, even after a seemingly safe factory reset.

How can you ensure your data is safe?

For businesses, a lack of data security can be a real risk. A factory reset may leave corporate and personal data vulnerable when you deal with your redundant devices. In a recent study by Blancco, 19 per cent of purchased second-hand phones were found to have recoverable data, 9 of which holding corporate or personal information.

Infographic on a study conducted on android phones to do with factory reset

The study highlighted the risks of improper data wiping, including factory resets, and how a seemingly blank device can harbour sensitive information.

For businesses wanting to protect their data, the only way to ensure information is completely uncoverable is through destruction or proper data wiping using professional software. Both are a better option for secure data disposal than a simple factory reset and can prevent a potentially dangerous data breach.

Destruction or wiping?

In terms of data security, businesses may believe that destruction is the only way to protect their data. Destroying the physical asset through a process like shredding will ensure the data is unrecoverable, but it could be destroying a perfectly usable asset.

Mobile phone refurbishment

For many businesses, wiping is a preferred option for asset reuse. Data wiping leaves you with an asset that can then be reused or even provide some rebate to you if you use an ITAD partner willing to buy them. 

Alongside this, wiping and reusing is a more eco-friendly option. Preventing asset elements from being wasted and giving devices longer lifetime value.

Contact a professional

Business data needs proper disposal, if your factory reset isn’t enough – speak to our certified ITAD professionals to discuss your options.

Have some devices that need wiping? Contact us.

Do you have an IT recycling requirement?

Get in touch