CIOs need to beware of hard disk drives (HDDs) and solid-state drives (SSDs) lying around data centres and storage rooms, they likely contain sensitive data.
Not permanently removing that data in a timely manner, could put the company at risk, writes Wale Arewa, CEO of Xperien.
There are various options to destroy the data permanently. Many businesses prefer physically destroying these drives by sending them to a third-party IT asset disposition vendor, or even destroy them in-house. In either case, physical destruction is not the only option for destroying end-of-life data.
Secure data erasure is another option, one that can help companies achieve data sanitisation and at the same time, comply with data protection regulations like POPIA and GPRS. More importantly, by reusing IT assets, businesses can save the planet in the process. They will also save money they otherwise would have spent on purchasing new storage devices.
Degaussing and shredding may be the cheapest and easiest form of physical destruction, but it’s risky. Degaussing removes data by reducing or eliminating unwanted magnetic fields, but because SSDs don’t store data magnetically, degaussing does not achieve data sanitisation.
Physically shredding SSDs can also be an issue because of shred size. A shred width of 2mm or smaller is recommended to break through the small memory chips and securely remove the data.
Most standard industrial shredders produce much larger fragments, leaving information behind. Physical destruction can also be harmful to the environment by leaving shredded assets behind.
Eliminate risk with data erasure
Data erasure is the software-based method of securely overwriting data from any data storage device using zeros and ones onto all sectors of the device. By overwriting the data on the storage device, the data is rendered unrecoverable.
At the end of the erasure process, the data erasure software will verify that data has been successfully overwritten across all sectors of the device. Then, the software will produce a tamper-proof, auditable certificate that the erasure has been successful. At this point, data sanitisation has occurred.
Data erasure can be done on-site or remotely and offers better control than other forms of data sanitisation. The process can also be automated to save time. Blancco Drive Eraser allows businesses to securely erase sensitive data in order to safely resell, re-purpose or dispose of both SSDs and HDDs.
Data erasure is the best way to achieve data sanitisation, due to the validation process to ensure the data was successfully overwritten and the auditable reporting readily available. Data erasure also supports environmental initiatives, while allowing companies to retain the resale value of their storage devices.
Reduce risk, increase efficiency, be sustainable
Companies must guard against data vulnerabilities, comply with numerous data protection regulations, efficiently use resources and incorporate eco-friendly practices – all within a complex portfolio of IT assets.