Data is information stored on a device that can be efficiently recalled and reused. Almost all business information can be considered sensitive in that it’s typically unique to your organization — and when stitched together will form the blueprint of your business. Whether financials, employee information, customer contact info, or marketing plans, the data destruction process is just as important as its creation and storage.
More and more, technology is becoming a cornerstone of competitive business. As our dependency on technology grows, so does the volume of digital data it creates. This makes data both essential for success and an intellectual asset that requires delicate handling. Not only does it make smart business sense to manage your data disposal carefully, but some industries also have mandatory data-wiping specifications for secure erasure.
Data Destruction Techniques
- Deletion — Simply hitting the delete button on your keyboard does not exactly destroy any data. When you delete a file from an electronic device, you may be removing it from a file folder but it remains on the hard drive or memory chip of that device. Even if you reformat the disc, the data remains and is merely replaced by a new file system — a bit like painting over the previous coat without scrubbing it off first. In the digital world, this is one of the least secure ways of handling your data destruction, as there are a number of cheap and accessible tools for recovering “deleted” data from a device.
- Wiping — This involves overwriting data on a hard drive to make the original data unreadable. Sometimes the data is overwritten multiple times. It requires specialist software that must meet stringent security standards. Since it can be time-consuming to data wipe a single device, normally the media is connected to a bulk wiping device that simultaneously manages a number of units. The benefit of data wiping is that the original hard drive can now be reused, while the original data cannot be retrieved. Whoever you trust with your data-wiping needs, just be sure they can deliver a certificate of destruction showing the data has been successfully erased.
- Destruction — Data can also be destroyed by destroying the physical storage device so that it’s impossible to access. Whether by incineration, crushing, or shredding, the damage is permanent. The goal is to render the device unusable. Although it may guarantee the destruction of your data, your organization may wish to consider the environmental impact of this alternative.
- Degaussing — Degaussing is a method of data destruction that uses specialized, high-powered magnets to disrupt the magnetic field of the device. This technique only works on data storage devices that use magnets. It can be quick and effective, although the hard drive becomes inoperable when you degauss a piece of electronic equipment. You then have hardware you cannot use but must also dispose of.
How can an expert help?
Simply deleting data doesn’t destroy it. If your business operates on sensitive data, having a professional do the job properly will ensure your organization’s data cannot be retrieved and compromised. Using an expert guarantees the data is secured in custody until you receive your certificate of data destruction — and with it peace of mind.