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A quick guide to Data Destruction

A critical aspect of securing intellectual property is timely elimination of information that have either been backed up or aren’t relevant to the user anymore. With computers getting an integral part of everyone’s lifestyle, safety of information is becoming a major concern. Gaining access to information that has been stored in computers after it is disposed off is quite easy and many companies and individuals have suffered as a result. Failure to dispose data devices can lead to serious security breaches and losses that are both intellectual and financial.

What is data destruction?

Data destruction can be defined as the process that integrates physical and digital destruction of data stored in hard disks, tapes and any other form of electronic recording media. Data destruction is meant to make the hardware completely inaccessible, unreadable and a piece of junk after all.

However, destroying digital evidence isn’t that easy. There are several ways to do it and not all can be considered to be reliable enough. In the most intricate case, just deletion of data isn’t enough. The media needs to be overwritten with random blocks/spaces such that the any trace of the original content is unreadable and irretrievable. Data destruction as a service is highly relevant to many companies, private departments, government data and other information that needs to be completely eliminated.

Importance of data destruction

Data destruction is as important as data storage. One doesn’t really know what unsafely discarded information can do until it comes to hit back. In one of the related high profile cases, a Scottish council was fines £250,000 when it was discovered that they had been unable to dispose sensitive information and important documents were found in supermarket waste bins. The information could have been used by anyone and would have been a big threat to the nation as such. As we are fast running into a world run by mobile and cloud platforms, the incidence of such attacks can even be more. It is important that both companies and individuals go for professional data destruction services when they are no longer in need of a recording media, be it a smart phone or a computer.

Methods of data destruction

Data mediums as such can be destroyed by a variety of processes, according to the sensitivity of the information. Here are of the best processes to consider.

1. Overwriting

Overwriting is one of the most common ways to erase data but it isn’t that credible. In case you are using the media in the same office, household, it is advisable to go for this process. Overwriting is cheap and is almost like formatting your computer and starting afresh. Overwriting of data drives are done using special software and is the fastest and cheapest way of disposal. Also, it involves recycling/reuse of the media and is thus a highly recommended form of data destruction.

2. Degaussing

Degaussing is the process wherein the magnetic field of the disk is physically removed / reduced to erase the information. Degaussing makes data completely unrecoverable and is thoroughly advised when dealing with highly sensitive and confidential information.

3. Physical destruction

Physical destruction of data involves magnetic strip melting, disk shredding and other processes that make the hardware unusable and thus the data inaccessible. This method of destruction presents the highest forms of assurance and in no likelihood can anyone recover the information.

It is highly important that data destruction is done by experienced service providers that provide full confidentiality. Data destruction as such is cheap and also contributes to towards minimizing e-wastes.


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