It's always important to take a step back every year and look at benchmark statistics surrounding the data security industry.

In identifying key trends, companies can better understand where to align resources to protect their prized possession: employee and consumer information.

Startling statistics
Cybercrime has become the new ransom. This is according to, which ascertains that it's the fastest growing segment of criminal activity. Companies have yet to fully understand the different ways in which their data can be breached, which leaves them behind the curve when it comes to protecting it.

Infinigate, a computer security service hailing from the U.K., recently compiled a study that showed 81 percent of respondents believe data protection is their organization's highest priority. Also startling – 58 percent have dealt with a data breach in the last two years.

It's clear that companies want to protect data, yet the transition to placing it as a high priority is slow moving. The source reported the average IT budget allocates just 9 percent to this area, yet a breach can cost a company $154 per leaked record, according to the Ponemon Institute. Businesses looking to actively prevent loss of information need to increase spending into a number of different areas. While protection from ransomware and other high-profile attacks are needed, many organizations miss the mark on other operations.

Active data protection is key to protecting a company, but what about securing the drives tossed in the trash?

Don't ignore the big picture
Some businesses believe all that is needed to erase data is either a virtual or physical trash bin. This couldn't be further from the truth. The trash bin folder on a computer doesn't actually delete the data, and unless a hard disk drive is completely destroyed, it's likely that someone can pry information off of it.

Preventing data loss is the highest priority for IT specialists according to the Infinigate study – 81 percent of respondents list it as such. Yet simply tossing away a device that once stored terabytes (or even petabytes) of information is perhaps one of the easiest ways to get hacked, and it's all too commonly done.

By using a degausser, IT departments can ensure the data is completely erased from the hard drive, rather than hoping it is. A degausser exposes media on the disk to powerful magnetic fields, which then leaves it in a blank state. The information becomes illegible and unreadable, no matter what method of extraction is used by the hacker.

In industries where compliance is key, a degausser must be used to ensure the information is completely deleted. As the only data-elimination method on the market approved by the National Security Agency, there really is no substitute.

Nearly 53 percent of respondents to the Infinigate study believe current IT staff expertise will be good enough for threats companies face today, but may not hold up in the future. Organizations can cross one possible method of data loss off the list by enlisting a degausser to delete old data, which will then give IT staff more time to actively defend against other cybercrimes.