A well-known nonprofit program that provides refurbished computers for students has sprouted an unexpected offshoot: a business that erases data on hard drives.
Secure Data Sanitization, a privately held firm, has spent $1 million to build a 1,000-square-foot, 9-inch thick reinforced concrete vault in west Boise. The vault is a secure place to wipe the memories of businesses' computer hard drives so that companies can be sure sensitive data is kept secret.
The business started in February. Owner and President Molli Wingert, a Boise native, hopes fast growth and an expansion that would require more workers are just around the corner.
"We're close to a contract from a company to erase the hard drives on 44,000 computers," Wingert said in an interview. "If we get that, we'd have to expand fast."
Five employees now work for SDS at the same site as Computers for Kids, the nonprofit that has refurbished more than 10,000 donated computers since Wingert launched it in her garage in 2001.
Wingert, a drag-car owner who races at Firebird Raceway, was a master scheduler of work-order assignments at the former Morrison-Knudsen Corp. and Whiteman Industries, a maker of equipment used in the concrete industry, before launching Computers for Kids.
Increasingly stringent laws on data disposal and electronic-waste recycling are causing a surge in demand for computer sanitization and recycling across the U.S., she said.
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