You dont want ‘60 Minutes’ or ABC News to come knocking at your door because one of your employees threw away a laptop. You don’t want to be reading the front page of the Wall Street Journal and see that your confidential business plan is now public information. You certainly don’t want to lose the confidence of your customer base because of one improperly discarded Blackberry. At the end of the day, all you have is your brand name and your reputation.
It is very important to consider information security from a hardware point of view. What happens to data when you get rid of old computers? Did you consider the information stored on smart phones and copier hard drives the last time you upgraded? How can sensitive information from that data be used against you if your electronics are not disposed of properly? If you work for a large corporation or government office, one errantly trashed computer could mean much more than having someone’s dating profile or resume available to the public.
To the chagrin of many, this has been an ongoing trend for careless companies and government offices. There are hundreds of accounts where sensitive information is collected from old electronics. Data thieves are becoming evermore efficient in extracting useful data from discarded computers and handheld devices. Not only have these cases resulted in costly lawsuits against companies by customers whose privacy was compromised, but consumer confidence was adversely affected.
If you want to avoid adding your name to this list, there are several measures that you can take to help protect yourself and your information. In the world of data destruction, these include:
Wiping – “Wiping” a hard drive refers to using specialized software to purge a drive of all accessible data. The upside to this method is that the device is still usable after the process because nothing has affected the hardware.
Unfortunately, this process is extremely time-consuming and prone to human error when many systems require wiping. In addition, the software cannot guarantee the erasure of data on a damaged or corrupted sector of the hard drive. Additionally, the only way to prove that all the data has been deleted is to reinsert the drive into a computer, reboot the system, and manually confirm. Very, very time consuming!
Degaussing – Degaussing involves a process where a hard drive is exposed to a high powered magnetic field which changes the alignment of the magnetic domain where the data is stored, thus “erasing” the data. When functioning properly, the process of degaussing can effectively render a hard drive useless and free of any previously stored data.
The problem with this technique is that, again, the process is lengthy and subject to operator error. A degaussed hard drive is visibly indistinguishable from one that hold sensitive data. This is a serious problem when several hundred hard drives need to be degaussed at one time. In addition, if the degausser does not run at full cycle strength, there is the possibility for some data to remain on the hard drive.
Shredding – Shredding is the safest option for data destruction. The hard drive or device is physically shredded into tiny particles.
There are two substantial benefits to choosing shredding. First, nationally recognized hard drive shredding service providers use 30 mm screens or smaller, which means that your entire device will be completely destroyed and no information can be extracted from any residual components. Second, the process is quick and irrefutable. You can choose to watch it happen either in person or by live camera feed so you can be assured that all your items have been dealt with. Finally, the residue can be sent to a certified smelter. Knowing for certain that your hard drives (and whatever information might have been left on them) are turned into dust ensures peace of mind for you and your office.
Although there are different options for handling your data destruction needs, shredding is the only sure-fire solution of guaranteeing that your sensitive information never ends up the in the wrong hands.
For more information on this topic – please visit http://www.DATAKILLERS.com
Data Killers provides nationwide, on-site destruction of any type of equipment or media with assured compliance and the ability to shred material to 10mm or as small as 2mm sizes. Data Killers is the data and product destruction arm of Turtle Wings, Inc., an ISO certified, woman-owned, HUBZoned company holding multiple GSA contracts.