Physical Destruction Vs Secure Data Erasure
Nowadays there are stacks of hard drives (HDDs) and Solid-State Drives (SSDs) lying around data centres and storage rooms. Most of these drives contain sensitive data which needs to be protected or permanently removed or it could be put the company at risk.
Whether one plans to physically destroy these drives in-house or through a third-party IT asset disposition vendor, it needs to be done sooner rather than later. This is also not the only option for securely removing data from electronics, secure data erasure is often a better option – one that can help one achieve data sanitisation and comply with data protection regulations.
Xperien’s Bridgette Vermaak says physically shredding SSDs can be a challenge due to shred size. “Typically, a shred width of half an inch or smaller is needed to break through the small memory chips and securely remove the data. Most standard industrial shredders will only shred to one inch particle size – leaving information behind.”
“Physical destruction can also be harmful to the environment considering the shredded assets that are left behind. Why not reuse your assets and save the planet in the process, you’ll also save money you otherwise would have spent on purchasing new storage devices,” she explains.
Eliminate risk with data erasure, it 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 and achieves data sanitisation.
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. 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.
Vermaak says data erasure also supports environmental initiatives, while allowing organisations to retain the resale value of their storage devices. “Blancco Drive Eraser is a form of secure data erasure for solid state drives and hard disk drives that allows organisations to securely erase sensitive data in order to safely resell, re-purpose or dispose of these drives.”
“There’s a lot to consider when selecting the right data erasure solution for your business. For example, what types of data and IT assets would you like to erase at end-of-life or in active environments. And how does the solution your organisation’s internal security policies and compliance requirements from external governing bodies,” she says.
With data erasure, businesses can achieve error-free, certified erasure reporting with a 100% verifiable audit trail. They can also save money by securing erasing and reusing drives instead of physically destroying them.
Companies can save on physical destruction costs with more affordable data erasure software, they can securely erase multiple drives simultaneously, saving time for other business-critical initiatives.
“With data erasure, it is easier to stay compliant with regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation’s (GDPR) that is already in force and the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) that is due to commence shortly.
“Lessons could be learnt through GDPR compliance that can later be applied to POPI compliance. It might make sense to have one compliance project that covers all bases, POPI and the GDPR alike,” she concludes.