How to Wipe a Hard Drive.
“Total data destruction and a throughly wiped hard drive, the first time, every time.”
The idea that physically destroying a hard disk renders data secure is a common fallacy in the business world. Yes, if you shred, drill through or crush a hard disk, an average person won’t get information from it. Data forensics units or similar specialists can get information from an apparently dead drive. In cases of industrial espionage the information is often valuable enough to be worth the effort. Organizations cannot simply reformat drives, physically destroy them and move on.
Degaussing is not the only thing you should do to insure data security. Consequentally, while degaussing is the only guaranteed method to remove data from a piece of technology, companies usually go one step further and pair their data erasure methods with crushing. Therefore, most people believe that if the platter can’t spin, then the hard drive can’t be read—but data can actually still be recovered from the device. This is why degaussing beforehand is incredibly important.
After degaussing, you should consider using a product that effectively crushes the device. The NSA recommends a combination of degaussing and crushing as the correct approach. Data thieves put together and salvage information if data remains on the platons.
Hard disk degaussing provides a major edge over physical destruction alone in hard drive disposal, and is the only truly effective way to wipe a hard drive when done in combination with crushing.
A degausser will disrupt the magnetic forces of a hard disk, rendering data impossible to capture and making the drive useless.
Properly destroying a hard drive is a key process during decommissioning, and degaussers are often the best option.
Organizations using degaussers should:
- At a minimum, companies must purchase degaussing wands.
- Use high-end degaussers to wipe servers and similar systems with resilient hard disks.
- Deploy shredders to simplify physical disk destruction once data has been removed.
Decommissioning hard disks can prove complex because of the combination of environmental and data protection standards involved.
Hard drive disposal is not as simple as hitting a hard drive with a hammer or a screwdriver.
However, degaussers simplify the data destruction process and increase the volume of devices that can be destroyed over time.
Organizations that invest in a degausser on-site can maintain chain of custody with relative ease. From there, using a shredder makes physical destruction easier, leaving scrap available for collection and proper disposal. In conclusion, clearly documented data destruction processes supported with the right hardware can simplify an office move and keep data safe.