Electronic Data Destruction: Which Method Is Best?

November 1, 2018

When you think of how much financial and personal information you store on your computer, it’s no wonder you want to be sure its hard drive is rendered unusable when you migrate your data to a newer model. And when it comes to enterprise-wide computer room and data center upgrades, the need for responsible data destruction is multiplied exponentially.

To ensure the safe destruction of your data and ensure you have an audit-worthy chain of custody paper trail of its handling — right up to and including its eventual destruction — you’re best advised to employ the professional data destruction services of a company like DataSpan, which is a certified member of the National Association for Information Destruction (NAID).

But like so many things related to technology nowadays, you have an important decision to make when it comes to how you want your outdated hard drives — and the data they contain — to be destroyed or rendered unusable.

To help you make an informed decision, we’ve put together the following list of the primary methods used to destroy data.

1. Compliant – Hard Drive Destruction

AAA NAID and government standards for data destruction include bending, crushing and shredding of storage media onsite and at the data. For smaller projects, bending or crushing the physically media through easily mobilized equipment can be economically provided. By literally bending and crushing physical media and hard drives, data can not be recovered.

For larger quantities of media, the process of shredding — or literally slicing your hard drives into tiny strips — is pretty much like the process of paper shredding, except with more robust machines. And like paper shredding, it renders your equipment and its data totally unusable.

Oftentimes, you have the choice to either have an on-site shredding machine brought to your location or to ship your old hard drives to a data destruction facility. Just remember that once your data leaves your custody, it must be placed in specially locked containers, transported securely and handled only by personnel who are certified to carry out the shredding process.

2. Hard Drive Degaussing

When hard drives undergo the degaussing process, they’re subjected to a magnetic field of high energy that causes all bits of stored data to split up and become totally random and unreadable. If your primary reason for destroying your equipment has to do with ensuring that its data is never accessible again, then the physical results of degaussing will give you absolute certainty that your old hard drives are no longer something you have to worry about.

3. Hard Drive Erasure

The act of erasure — also referred to as “wiping” — typically employs special software to overwrite the memory of your hard drives so they’re eventually wiped clean. This is a favored method for businesses that want to reuse or recycle their hard drives.

However, a word of caution: Wiping software is incapable of erasing data from faulty hard drives as well as from bad sectors. For this reason, DataSpan recommends to destroy all non-functioning drives when they fail to wipe.

Some organizations have a higher concern for data security. Some organizations take an additional step to assure that no data leaves the data center. First step, wipe hard drives in the storage arrays and servers, and then second step, physically destroy hard drives through bending, crushing or shredding.

DataSpan for All Methods of Data Destruction

Every data center has its own unique concerns when it comes to how its data is stored, handled and eventually destroyed. Throughout all phases of the life cycle of your equipment and your data, you can trust DataSpan to have the expertise and specialized tools to support the security and efficiency of your business.

For more information on our full line of data destruction services, contact us today.

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