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Data destruction: more than just deleting files

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Data end-of-life has now become a huge challenge for most companies, especially with uncontrolled data growth that has resulted in new corporate policies for data storage and retention. This is largely as a result of legislation and regulations such as the Protection of Personal Information Act (PoPI).
It is often assumed that once data has been marked for disposal, it no longer requires much attention. However, it is essential for data security and the protection of personal, proprietary and confidential information that data is permanently destroyed, deleted or erased from devices.
Xperien is able to professionally erase data on retired IT assets in compliance with the PoPI Act. It offers safe and secure data destruction services and all its data destruction methods are accompanied by certificates that will be required for an audit trail.
“Our technicians are able to perform onsite destruction of hard drives and devices using physical destruction. Our mobile shredders are able to handle 300 hard drives or cell phones daily,” says Xperien senior business development manager Bridgette Vermaak.
“For offsite hard drive destruction we use degaussing to destroy large quantities of hard drives and devices. This method offers high security, speed and cost effectiveness,” she adds.
To recover value from hard drives and devices with SSD data storage, mainly cell phones and USB sticks, Xperien uses software erasure which eliminates data without physically destroying the asset’s value. It also destroys all types of data tape media, mobile phones, libraries and CD’s physically by shredding them into tiny pieces.
“We provide secure lockable strongboxes that can be used to collect hard drives, mobile phones and other devices prior to our arrival onsite. These can be used for a destruction or a collection for offsite destruction,” says Vermaak.
Degaussing is a process that uses a magnetic charge to eliminate data and it also destroys other components of the hard disk drive – ensuring double protection. Degaussed drives can then be recycled or destroyed.
Xperien’s DestroyData software, based on secure erase, performs advance digital data elimination that allows the hard disk drive to be reused, making this method the most environmentally compliant. These software solutions offer the best audit trails on the market, they are able to capture additional inventory criteria and produce individual disposal certificates for hard disk drives.
Software erasure is the costliest option because it is time consuming, taking up to two hours for a 320Gb hard disk drive. There are also license fees payable for each disposal certificate. However, it is usually the preferred option for newer equipment where the chargers can be recovered for the residual value in the IT equipment. The secure erase standard is recognised by most of the above mentioned standards but not all defence agencies standards.
“Xperien believes in the power of reputational risk. With the aid of destroyData software, we offer a secure, efficient solution to assist customers in the prevention of data loss; safeguarding your company’s integrity,” she explains.
DestroyData provides a simple software solution to digitally erase all types of hard disk drive. The solution provides a fast, efficient process that is user friendly and generates reports and audit trails for the end user.
Vermaak says Xperien has chosen destroyData software due to its ability to provide an erasure report, support multiple device platforms and erase multiple devices at one time. “Certified data erasure is a practical choice for businesses who want to secure their data without a time consuming manual process.
“By conforming to technology standards and UK government certifications, this software – together with our experienced team – are able to provide you with peace of mind.
In saying so, we guarantee no data will be left behind prior to reassignment, resale or retirement of the device,” she concludes.
Physical shredding of the hard disk drive is done by crushing and mangling it into tiny 25mm pieces. This eliminates the data and renders the hard disk drive unusable. This is also the most secure method and chosen by clients that wish to spare no expense in securing their proprietary data.
This can be performed onsite by Xperien’s mobile unit destroyData. This option offers maximum security and a complete chain of custody as the data does not have to be transported to a crushing plant. However, it is the costliest and least environmentally friendly and is preferred when large quantities (100+) of hard disk drives have been accumulated for destruction.