Properly Destroying Digital Storage Devices
Why Is Digital Storage Destruction Important
The National Association for Information Destruction® (NAID®) recently shared the results of an extensive study conducted to assess the presence of personally identifiable information (PII) on electronic devices that are bought, sold and traded on the used-goods market. The study showed that 40 percent of devices resold in publicly-available resale channels contained PII.
Just like print documents containing critical information need to be shred in a safe and secure manner, electronic data storage devices must also be diligently handled to minimize risks of criminal breaches. Deleting files from your computer’s recycling bin or email trash does not mean the information has been erased from your system. The data will still be available on the hard drive and can be easily retrieved. Recycling or discarding digital storage devices like old computers, hard drives, DVDs, USB memory sticks without carrying out proper data destruction is risky. Neglecting the proper care to destroy these devices safely can have untoward consequences for your organization if a data breach occurs.
According to information security experts and industry analysts, not many small and medium size companies have fully recognized the threat of undestroyed data. However, with data retrieval techniques getting more advanced, it is necessary for companies to sanitize and destroy digital storage data in an organized and legally compliant manner.
Available Options for Data Storage Destruction
The method your company chooses to destroy digital data should depend on whether you plan to reuse your digital storage devices or do away with them entirely. It will also depend on the sensitivity of the data being destroyed.
- Overwriting: When you want to erase only select files, or sections of content, and leave the other data as it is, overwriting comes in handy. Overwriting is done by software, where new data is overwritten on the storage media. The method is relatively low-cost, but overwriting is time-consuming, and is not fool proof. It does not work on all types of digital media.
- Degaussing: Degaussing involves using a machine that produces electromagnetic fields to the storage devices inserted into it, such that all data is erased. Degaussing is a strong and intense method to eliminate data, but its magnetic force can cause collateral damage to other electronic devices nearby. Also, the impact of this process is strong enough to render hard drives and other storage devices useless. Hence, degaussing is not recommended if you are looking to reuse your digital media.
- Physical Destruction: If you want all traces of your digital storage data to be permanently eliminated, then physical destruction offers you complete assurance. Hard drives, hard discs, USB sticks, DVDs, CDs and all other digital media are entered into a machine that crushes them into slivers of metal scrap for safe recycling. The method is ideal for companies looking at destroying their old digital media in a manner that makes it impossible for anyone to retrieve information. The process can be handled by a NAID AAA certified shredding company at their plant, but if you wish to witness the shredding yourself for peace of mind, then opt for their on-site service.
For total compliance and security, make sure your service provider gives you a Certificate of Destruction and a report containing the serial numbers of the digital storage devices. Choose a trusted shredding company like TITAN Mobile Shredding for your digital data destruction needs. Call our experts today at (866) 848-2699 or reach us online to get a free quote.