There is a range of secure data deletion software available – some of which is free – that can act as a data shredder. But it is important to remember that even the best hard drive wipe software does not make your hard drive safe for recycling or resale: only hard drive shredding can accomplish that.
When people search for the best hard drive wipe software, they are often looking for a way to delete all data on a piece of equipment in order to reuse it. In these instances, drive wipe software will effectively clean the equipment, ready for reuse. However, it is vitally important to understand that if your intention is to resell, recycle, or otherwise dispose of the equipment, even secure data deletion software will not be sufficient: hard drive data wiping must be used.
Obliterating Sensitive Data With Secure Data Deletion Software
There are several scenarios in which a company may be interested in completely wiping all data from a disk or hard drive. Perhaps new equipment has been purchased for one department, and the older equipment is intended to be passed down to another department. Or perhaps a hard drive contained backup files for a particular client or project, and those backup files are no longer needed as the project is completed or the client is no longer using your services.
In those and other similar instances, it makes sense to use secure data deletion software to wipe the data from the drive and reuse it. It is only when the hard drive or other equipment is intended to leave the company altogether, such as for resale, recycling, or disposal, that disk wipe software is unsuitable.
Free Secure Data Deletion Software Options
The basis of most free data destruction software solutions is the idea that simply deleting data and emptying the Recycle Bin is not an adequate means of erasing the data. In fact, deleting files is more akin to hiding the files from yourself. Once deleted, the files are no longer indexed by your operating system, yet – unless they are overwritten by specialist software – they remain on the computer’s hard drive. As such, the files can be accessed relatively easily with the right data recovery software.
The following software solutions are all freeware or shareware, and all go at least one step further than simply deleting files: they completely erase the data, making it much more difficult to be recovered. Remember, though, that while it will be more difficult to recover the data after using secure data deletion software, it will not be impossible. These methods should only be utilized when the equipment is intended to stay in-house, not if the equipment needs to be completely destroyed.
Darik’s Boot and Nuke (DBAN): free software that is ready to be burnt on to a CD or DVD, or copied to a flash drive. Simply boot your equipment from the CD/DVD/flash drive, and the easy-to-use interface will take care of the rest.
CBL Data Shredder: this free software can be used similarly to DBAN above, by copying it to removable media and booting your equipment from it, or it can be run from within Windows like other software if the drive is a portable or other internal one.
Safewiper for Android: free trial software that will erase data from an Android device, including SD cards.
WipeDrive Mobile: a similar software solution to Safewiper above, but designed for iPhone and other iOS devices.
O&O SafeErase 11: for hard drives only, this software scans a drive for potentially sensitive information and presents its findings one by one, allowing the user to choose which files to destroy and which to save.
Disposing Of Classified Equipment The Right Way
When a hard drive, disc, cell phone, laptop, or any other piece of equipment is no longer of use and needs to be disposed of, there is only one viable solution. Classified equipment destruction ensures that the equipment is permanently and irreversibly demolished, never to be used again. Any data that had existed on the equipment becomes irretrievable, regardless of the data retrieval methods attempted.
A Note On Reselling Sensitive Equipment
Sensitive, proprietary, or any other equipment that has ever stored confidential information can never be resold or recycled. It is only by hard drive shredding or classified equipment destruction by a licensed, NAID certified data destruction company that data can irretrievably be wiped from a piece of equipment. Anything less, and you leave yourself open to possible financial repercussions that could come from a lawsuit from your company’s failure to treat sensitive data with due care.
To discuss the proper destruction of equipment, contact a qualified Data Destruction Corporation representative today.