Modern businesses increasingly rely on the exchange of data over the internet. Quality data integrity is especially important with regulations such as GDPR, but so too is the process of secure data destruction.
With over 2.5 quintillion bytes exchanged over the internet every single day, the need for securely destroying data to protect your business, employees, and clients’ data is not only a pressing need for adhering to regulatory bodies but it’s also good practice that can keep your business operations safe from leaks or malicious data attacks, for example.
What is Data Destruction?
Data destruction involves the destruction of data found on hard drives, flash drives, tapes, and many other types of storage devices. Many individuals mistakenly believe that files deleted from their computer and emptied from the Recycle Bin are gone for good, which is insufficient. Traces are left behind digitally that can restore files completely or be used to access sensitive data, so data must be destroyed thoroughly with data destruction processes to do so.
Data Destruction Methods
Smashing devices with a hammer will certainly cause significant destruction, but it’s often too crude and leaves behind the possibility of accessing drives (even if seemingly destroyed) and thus the data therein. Any physical destruction of data drives should be thorough and complete, ensuring that traces or fragments cannot be reassembled and used by a savvy data thief.
Shredding of paper documents was – and still is – another popular method of destroying records. Office shredders are good for day-to-day use, but a clever thief may still be able to find ways of accessing paper documents. Reputable data destruction companies can provide quality shredding according to data destruction guidelines and with a certificate of compliance.
Degaussing is the process of demagnetizing a hard drive. A degausser erases the magnetic data by neutralizing the hard disk by exposing it to a powerful magnetic field. Degaussing eliminates the possibility of your data being retained by unauthorized people as it scrambles the information into random patterns making it completely unreadable. To ensure your data is destroyed to the highest standard, work with a degaussing company that is NSA-approved.
Deleting files is a great way to clear them from a desktop, but chances are the file still exists on the drive and can be recovered with minimal effort. Reformatting drives is a more thorough way of writing over old data, but it may still be possible to recover the old data in some cases. No matter the scale or scope, complete data destruction processes ensure that deleted files are completely gone.
Although encryption doesn’t technically destroy data, it’s often still effective at protecting sensitive data or for securing unused data. With the correct code or password, however, all of the data will remain intact.
How Data Destruction Helps Your Business
Businesses big and small stand to benefit from professional data destruction. With so much data being exchanged and held on servers and drives regarding transactions, clients’ personal information, employee information, and more, the cost of sustaining a data breach from malicious entities goes beyond financial. Here’s how data destruction secures your business:
- Keep confidential data from being recovered: data destruction methods need to destroy all relevant data so that it can never be recovered.
- Clean up workplace clutter: hard drives, paper, CD-ROMs, and other data storage devices can take up a lot of space in a modern office. Keep your office tidy and productive by having unneeded data destroyed. Out of sight, out of mind. Your company is likely paying for each Sq Ft of space, why not utilize it efficiently.
- Remain in full regulatory compliance: keeping in compliance with regulations such as GDPR can be time-consuming and costly, but they pale in comparison to the potentially thousands or millions that can be issued to a business as a fine for mishandling data. Professional data destruction companies are aware of regulatory compliance and will have knowledgeable data destruction experts that won’t put your business at risk of a large fine.
- Deter cyber criminality: black hat hackers are far more likely to be deterred from exposing your sensitive data if they can’t access it in the first place. Not only will they be deterred from trying in the first place, but any hopeful hackers in the future will also realize that their efforts will be in vain.
- Certified destruction: peace of mind is one of the biggest benefits of data Certificates and videos of destruction can reassure you that your data has been properly destroyed, but they can also protect you should anyone ever cast doubt on the quality of your data destruction.
Don’t Take Your Chances – Destroy Data Safely
Decades ago, a paper shredder and some means of destroying tape were all that was needed by most businesses to properly destroy data. In today’s increasingly digitized world, that is no longer the case.
It has been said that data is the new oil. Major corporations have experienced costly data breaches and criminals have a lot to gain from data that hasn’t been properly destroyed. It is essential that you work with data destruction professionals who have the expertise and tools to destroy your business data confidently and reliably.
Daniel Santry is US Business Development Executive for Wisetek, who are global leaders in IT Asset Disposition, Data Destruction, & IT Reuse.