Regardless of industry or size, businesses now rely on data to help them succeed.
Whether companies are collecting, using, purchasing, transmitting, or storing data, they all have one thing in common: they must determine the best data security after it is no longer essential to keep. With the incidence of data breaches increasing significantly over the last decade, it is critical to adhere to industry standards for secure data destruction.
If your company lacks a policy for equipment and data disposal or is unfamiliar with the secure data destruction process, you risk security incidents, high fines and penalties, loss of customers’ trust, and brand or services damage.
Difference Between Secure Data Destruction And Secure Data Disposal
What’s the difference between secure data destruction and secure data disposal?
Secure disposal entails securely disposing of sensitive data but not completely erasing it. When you remove it (e.g., by throwing it in the trash or simply deleting files from your computer), malicious individuals can still access it. If you need help keeping detailed records for this, you can work with disposal companies.
On the other hand, secure destruction entails completely eliminating data from your electronic devices — malicious individuals will no longer be able to recover data assets.
In short, just removing sensitive information from storage drives, magnetic media devices, or flash drives does not guarantee that it is completely destroyed or unrecoverable.
Techniques For Data Security
When assessing which methods to use for data security, four major factors must be considered: the form of media, the sensitivity of the data being disposed of or destroyed, the end-of-life value of the data asset, and all relevant information security frameworks and legal requirements to which your business is subject.
After taking these four factors into account, you can determine which of the following methods is most appropriate for your company’s needs.
Here are six techniques (4 ways to exterminate data on a hard drive and 2 ways for a solid-state drive).
Ways To Securely Destroy Hard Drives
Consider the following ways for securely destructing or disposing of data on hard disk drives (HDDs) or in the physical location where the data is stored:
- Clearing: Clearing erases data from computers’ hard drives or memory cards so that an end-user cannot easily recover it. This process is appropriate for reusing equipment within your business.
- Digital Shredding or Wiping: This method does not affect the physical asset. Instead, it just overwrites data using disk cleaning software with other characters such as 1 or 0 and random characters.
- Degaussing: Degaussing is a process that reorganizes the structure of the hard drive using a strong magnetic field. Once the hard drive has been degaussed, it cannot be used again.
- Physical Destruction: This method guarantees the secure disposal and destruction of external hard drives by physically destroying (crushing or shredding) them hydraulically or mechanically, making data unrecoverable or reconstructible.
Ways To Securely Destroy Solid State Drives
Consider the following ways for secure data destruction and secure data disposal of data found on solid-state disks (SSDs) or the virtual location where the confidential information is stored:
- Built-In Sanitization Commands: This is an efficient way if the device will be reused within the company.
- Physical Destruction or Encryption: This is when you physically destroy data from systems. Physical destruction is the only guaranteed means of ensuring that computer data cannot be recovered since it is physically destroyed.
Implementing A Policy On Extra Hardware, Equipment, And Data Disposal
You must create the appropriate policies in place that foster a compliance culture. After all, even if your workers are knowledgeable of the best practices, if your policies do not mirror your business’ requirements, there is no way to hold them accountable for adhering to them.
As a result, while developing, maintaining, and enforcing a policy for the disposal of equipment and data, we propose considering policies that:
- Determine who will be in charge of supervising the whole process.
- Define detailed best practices that employees should adhere to in order to ensure implementation.
- Specify how electronic waste (sometimes called e-waste) that is no longer valuable to the business — conserving natural resources by electronic recycling — but does not need to be wiped out will be disposed of (i.e., recycling electronics to be sold to employees or donated)
- Include requirements for asset inventory list updates.
- Adhere to the equipment and data disposal policy’s non-compliance.
In summary, having solid equipment and data security in place that incorporates best practices is critical to developing a compliance culture inside your organization. By doing so, you establish your services and IT hardware as trustworthy and dependable.