Table of Contents

Click Here to Return To the Network Plus Course Page


In today’s digital landscape, network security is of utmost importance to organizations. With the proliferation of connected devices and the increasing threat of cyber attacks, it is crucial to ensure that network assets are disposed of securely. Improper disposal of assets can lead to data breaches, financial losses, and damage to a company’s reputation. In this article, we will explore the best practices for asset disposal in network security, including performing factory resets, wiping configurations, and sanitizing devices before disposal.

Performing Factory Reset and Wiping Configurations

When it comes to disposing of network assets, one of the key steps is performing a factory reset and wiping all configurations. This process ensures that all sensitive data and personal information are removed from the devices before they are handed over for disposal.

A factory reset restores the device to its original settings, erasing all user data and custom configurations. It is essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure a thorough reset. This step is especially important for devices such as routers, switches, and firewalls, which often store sensitive information like passwords, network settings, and access control lists.

In addition to the factory reset, wiping configurations involves removing any residual data that may still exist on the devices. This can be done by overwriting the storage media with random data or using specialized software tools designed for secure data wiping. These tools typically follow recognized standards such as the Department of Defense (DoD) 5220.22-M standard, which specifies data sanitization methods.

By performing a factory reset and wiping configurations, organizations can prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information and ensure that devices are ready for safe disposal.

Sanitizing Devices for Secure Disposal

Before network assets are disposed of, it is crucial to sanitize the devices to ensure data security. Sanitization involves the complete removal of any data remnants that may still exist on the storage media. This process goes beyond a factory reset and wiping configurations and ensures that the devices are ready to be reused or safely discarded.

There are several methods available for sanitizing devices, depending on the type of storage media used. For hard disk drives (HDDs), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recommends using secure erasure methods such as Secure Erase or Full Disk Overwrite. These methods overwrite the entire disk with random data multiple times, making it extremely difficult to recover any residual data.

For solid-state drives (SSDs), the process is slightly different due to their different storage technology. NIST recommends using techniques such as Cryptographic Erase or Block Erase, which ensure that all data stored on the SSD is permanently deleted. Additionally, SSDs may have built-in firmware-based sanitization features, such as the ATA Security Erase command, which can be used to sanitize the drive.

It is important to note that the sanitization process should also include any removable storage media, such as USB drives or memory cards, that were used with the network assets. These devices should be properly formatted or physically destroyed to prevent any potential data leakage.

Proper Methods for Disposing of Network Assets Securely

After performing the necessary steps to reset, wipe, and sanitize network assets, it is important to dispose of them securely. Improper disposal can lead to the unauthorized retrieval of sensitive information or the devices falling into the wrong hands, posing a security risk. Here are some proper methods for disposing of network assets securely:

  1. Recycling: Many organizations choose to recycle their network assets by sending them to certified e-waste recycling facilities. These facilities are equipped to handle the proper disposal of electronic devices while adhering to environmental regulations. It is important to ensure that the recycling facility follows secure data destruction practices to prevent any potential data breaches.

  2. Resale: In some cases, network assets that are still in good working condition can be resold. However, it is crucial to thoroughly wipe all data from the devices before selling them. This ensures that no sensitive information is inadvertently transferred to the new owner. Additionally, organizations should consider removing any physical labels or markings that may contain confidential information.

  3. Physical Destruction: For devices that cannot be recycled or resold, physical destruction is a viable option. This involves physically damaging the devices to render them inoperable. Methods such as shredding, crushing, or disassembling the devices can effectively prevent any potential data recovery.

By following these proper methods for disposing of network assets securely, organizations can mitigate the risk of data breaches and protect sensitive information.


Proper asset disposal and sanitization are crucial components of network security. Organizations must follow best practices to ensure that sensitive information is effectively removed from devices before disposal. Performing a factory reset and wiping configurations, sanitizing devices, and using proper methods for secure disposal are key steps in this process. By implementing these practices, organizations can protect themselves from potential data breaches and safeguard their reputation.

Remember, network security is an ongoing process, and staying up to date with the latest regulations and guidelines is essential. Organizations should also consult relevant government regulations such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Department of Defense (DoD) 5220.22-M to ensure compliance and best practices.


  1. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
  2. Department of Defense (DoD) 5220.22-M
  3. EPA - Electronics Donation and Recycling