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Data Removal: How To Erase Data Securely

Data removal aka; data destruction is intended to render the data on an electronic device unreadable. But what exactly is data destruction? How comprehensive is the process of data destruction?

This article will discuss the best data removal methods that can be used to protect your data from prying eyes.

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What Is Data Removal?

The data destruction process utilizes various data destruction methods (e.g. Data wiping, degaussing and shredding are all methods used to erase data from all electronic devices, including smartphones, tablets, hard drives, tapes, etc. to ensure that the data does not fall into the wrong hands.

Why You Need Data Destruction

It is important to properly erase data because deleted files are not completely deleted. The only thing that is deleted from your device is the file reference. However, the actual file remains. Individuals who commit data theft are able to retrieve deleted files even though the operating system cannot locate them.

Why Is It Important to Securely Destroy Data?

Electronic storage of data is a common feature, whether at home or in business. While electronic devices have made business operations more efficient and easier, there is a risk of data mismanagement and data breaches due to the sheer volume of digital data.

A company’s data could be lost, mishandled or not properly handled. This can lead to incontinence and even catastrophic results. If an old hard drive isn’t accounted for, it could contain personal information about employees, financial records of the company, and other sensitive data that could be used in a data breach. Any sensitive data stored on an old storage device must be destroyed completely or made untraceable.

Sensitive Information That Must Be Dismantled:

  • Software programs
  • Institutional/business data
  • Personally identifiable data
  • Non-public data

An organization should make it a priority to avoid data breaches. A breach of classified data can have serious financial and legal consequences and cause consumers to lose confidence.

A data breach costs businesses on average $3.86 million. Even though these numbers are inflated by large corporations, even small businesses can suffer a serious financial loss from lost records. IBM estimates that the average cost of a lost record in 2018 was $148. Even modern hard drives are inexpensive and can store hundreds of thousands of records.

Are There Destruction Guidelines

It is important to secure all outdated, at-risk storage assets and destroy their data in order to ensure security for an organization. There are many legal guidelines to be aware of when handling these assets.

Data destruction procedures must be compliant with federal and state data security and privacy laws. To avoid large fines, compliance with this legal framework is essential.

It is important to follow legal guidelines and calculate the best approach for your company’s data destruction requirements. This requires diligence. An authorized data sanitization company will be able to provide the required methods of destruction, while adhering to all legal requirements.

How Does Secure Data Destruction Work?

Secure data destruction is more than just deleting data or throwing it away. To completely destroy any device containing sensitive customer or company information, it is possible to follow internal guidelines, state regulations, and federal statutes like HIPAA.

A company can protect itself from potential data breaches and legal problems by destroying its data. A hard drive that was previously loaded with confidential information can be made inaccessible by one or more of these processes.

What Are the Different Types Of Data Removal?

Data removal (data destruction), used to be as simple as throwing paper in the fire or using a paper shredder. There are many options for electronic data storage, and each solution has its advantages and disadvantages. One of these methods is used to destroy data:

Data Wiping

Wiping hard drives can be done by connecting them to a wiping device or using wiping software. While wiping preserves the core functionality of the device, it can take a lot of time and can lead to loss of data.

It can take several hours to complete a wipe. Time constraints might make it difficult for companies with many outdated hard drives. Even smaller operations might benefit from data wiping. They can provide self-service data wiping with appropriate guidance. If an operation is concerned about maintaining their storage media for financial and practical reasons, data wipes may be beneficial.

Overwriting

Software-based data erasure method that erases all sectors on a hard drive or any other digital storage media.

Data Overwriting generally follows the guidelines of erasure standard – “a single overwrite with a fixed pattern like binary zeros” to permanently destroy data.

Overwriting is a popular method of data destruction. Overwriting, like wiping data, is time-consuming and takes multiple hours per device. This process is not possible if the hard drive is damaged or corrupted.

Shredding/Crushing

Physical destruction of hard drives or other storage media, shredding or crushing parts to a small size. This guarantees that memory and function are irretrievable. According to NIST, the best and most bulletproof way to eliminate data is by destroying it. Physical destruction is the best guarantee of inaccessibility. 

These are the most common ways to destroy a hard drive or tape, or any other magnetic media.

No one can retrieve information on a device using any of these methods.

This method has the main advantages over degaussing and certified data wiping.

  • This method offers the most security among all data deletion methods.
  • It is virtually impossible to recover any data that has been deleted.
  • It is capable of destroying large amounts of media simultaneously.
  • It can wipe out multiple media types at once.
  • This is a great data wiping tool for large data centers.

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Degaussing

The demagnetization of a storage device or tape hard drive, neutralizes the device and erases the memory. Because of the strength of magnetism, media degaussing can cause irreparable damage to devices. Military personnel often use degaussing because it prevents the hard drive from ever being used again.

The process of degaussing electronic media is to reduce or eliminate the magnetic field and stored information within storage media such as hard disks, cassettes/diskettes, diskettes, tapes, reels, and diskettes. The degausser uses a powerful magnetic field to demagnetize the media, which eliminates all data.

How Does It Work?

Coercivity is a magnetic property that every electronic device has. It refers to the amount of magnetic fields required to increase the device’s magnetization to 0. The unit of coercivity (Oe) is measured in Oersteds. This refers to the amount of magnetic field required to get a device’s magnetization up to 0.

Degaussing has many advantages over traditional data erasure (also known as. Data wiping and overwriting are processes that include:

  • Degaussing is safer than other methods. It destroys all data.
  • A degaussing machine is fast and can erase data in less than 10 seconds
  • It is versatile. Degaussing can remove information from any magnetic media.
  • You can reuse the degaussed electronic device.

Choose eCycle

eCycle Florida is an R2 Certified electronics recycling company in the state of Florida. Check out the services in the multitude of industries that we offer: 

We are happy to service areas all throughout Florida including:

Contact eCycle Today to get more information on data removal / security needs and check out our 5-star reviews from previous clients we’ve worked with.

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