In the past, data destruction was much easier than it is today when people simply wiped their hard drive before chucking it into the trash and calling it a day. Today you can no longer throw out your hard drive and hope for the best. Hackers have become very skilled in their craft, and can relatively easily access data, and either use it for sabotage or sell it to a third party.
Even wiping your drive once will no longer suffice, as cybercriminals have devised creative new ways to retrieve “deleted” data. A massive study that conducted just last year found that half of the second-hand computers that they found had digital data still left on their drives.
Also, much of the data was highly sensitive, as they found credit card numbers, passwords, usernames, company and contact info, search histories, and even highly classified tax details. Data destruction is something that should not be taken lightly. We will discuss some of the reasons why data destruction is far more important than you think as well as some ways to destroy your information for good.
Data Can Exist Forever
Unbeknownst to many, a file that is deleted isn’t completely erased. Instead, the data that is deleted will remain on your hard drive. It will remain there even if you delete it from your computer’s recycle bin. Moreover, wiping data does not guarantee that the data will be gone for good. Highly skilled cybercriminals may still be able to retrieve the data in due time.
Being Inoperable Doesn’t Matter
Some people mistakenly assume that a computer that is antiquated or completely broken will mean that the data found in its innards will also die with it. In reality, the data will still find a way to exist. There are a myriad of different software tools and solutions on the market that can allow virtually anyone to recover the files if they want.
If you want to sell or donate your old electronics, then you should remove the hard drives and then destroy them thoroughly. You should also physically destroy them before you recycle old electronic systems. We would also strongly suggest that you try and avoid stockpiling old electronics if possible.
Recycling Doesn’t Guarantee Data Security
According to the NAID, all IT equipment that is recycled is supposed to be transferred to a qualified service enterprise that has specialized training in handling data destruction. If you take the time to read between the lines of their service contracts, you will soon discover that they assume no legal liability for stolen or mismanaged personal data. Ergo, it is solely your responsibility to dispose of any pertinent intel before you send off your old IT systems to a service provider.
A data destruction company will assume all responsibility in the event of any stolen data. They will use their specialized skills and tools to destroy your hard drives, as well as any other data sources that you need completely neutralized.
The Method Used is Paramount
You may be surprised to know that there is quite a bit of controversy surrounding the proper means of data destruction. It should also be mentioned that there are readers that can be bought that can be used to recover data from hard drives that have been damaged. Moreover, data may still be recoverable even in the event that the hard drive is dumped in boiling hot or ice cold water, and even shooting multiple holes in a hard drive may still allow some criminals to recover some data from the drive.
The ideal way to ensure that the data on hard drives has been eliminated is to work with a file destruction enterprise that has a track record of success. Companies often use state of the art shearing apparatuses that will slice and dice your hard drives into very small pieces. This is followed by the use of cutting edge crushing equipment that will decimate magnetic surfaces as well as form holes through each drive that is entirely irreparable.
Proof of Data Destruction is a Must
If you decide to work with a licensed, bonded, and insured data destruction company, then they will provide you with a Certificate of Destruction (COD) afterwards. You will have tangible proof that your assets have been taken care of in a way that ensures that data found within has been removed permanently.
This documentation is an absolute must, its not only important for compliance reasons, but will also prove to customers, regulatory agents, and qualified inspectors that the information has been destroyed for good. You do not want to have to deal with any penalties or fines that may ensue due to stolen and recovered company data. It is recommended that you partner with a reputable data destruction company for peace of mind.