How Do You Wipe an External Hard Drive?
When it’s time to get rid of sensitive information kept outside a computer, the most important question is, how do you wipe an external hard drive? For many people, this will lead to extensive internet searches for “how do you delete everything on a hard drive?”, “how do you permanently delete files from external hard drive?”, or other topics relating to erasing external hard drive completely.
If you’ve been following the Data Destruction blog, you’d probably know that deleting files from a hard drive does not permanently remove them. When you want to do away with an old external hard drive, you must permanently wipe it.
Wiping is the surest way to dispose of data on a hard drive before retiring it.
Why It’s Important to Wipe a Used External Hard Drive
For most people, the first thing that comes to mind when erasing an external hard drive is to format it. However, formatting does not remove the data from a disk completely. It simply makes it a lot harder to recover, but it is still recoverable.
In short, if you keep confidential data on a hard drive, formatting it isn’t secure enough when disposing of the data. Fortunately, there are multiple ways to securely wipe the hard drive.
Here is why you must delete everything on a hard drive.
To prevent identity theft: Identity theft is when someone steals personally identifiable information and uses it for malicious or other selfish ends, usually fraud. For instance, the identity thief could use your information to apply for credit or access medical services. Ultimately your reputation is what suffers most when this happens.
To prevent a possible data breach: A data breach happens when confidential information is accessed without authorization from the owner. In other words, if your trade secrets, personally identifiable information, or other proprietary data falls into the wrong hands, your data has been breached. Besides loss of trust from your clients, you may suffer severe financial penalties for such a breach. Wiping your old external hard drives eliminates this risk.
To protect your business’s reputation: When sensitive information pertaining to your business falls into unscrupulous hands, your reputation is likely to suffer. It may take years to recover and for some businesses, you may never recover at all. Wiping old hard drives puts your mind at ease knowing that your business’ reputation is always intact.
To comply with data protection laws and government regulations: In most jurisdictions around the world, businesses, organizations, and other agencies that collect user information are mandated to protect it. Securely wiping your hard drives before retiring them is a sure way to comply with these regulations.
How Do You Wipe an External Hard Drive?
Here are a few ways to go about wiping an external hard drive.
Destroy the Drive Physically
When you ask someone, “how do you wipe an external hard drive?” the idea of physically destroying the device is generally the first that comes to mind. This is the simplest DIY method to do away with an old external hard drive. You can use a hammer to smash it or use a heavy weight to crush the drive. You can set it on fire or shred it to bits.
That said, you must realize that in some instances, data can be retrieved from a physically damaged hard drive using advanced and sophisticated tools. So, DIY physical destruction is not a foolproof method to wipe a hard drive.
Use a Data Destruction Program
There are countless data shredder programs out there. Some are free while others are premium. It’s up to you to do adequate research prior to trusting any piece of hard drive data wiping software to wipe your external hard drive. That said, there are a couple of trusted shredder programs used at professional level.
Enlist a Professional Data Wiping Service
The surest and most secure way to find out How do you wipe an external hard drive is by enlisting the services a professional data destruction company.
A professional service employs cutting-edge tools and techniques to wipe hard drives. For instance, the Data Destruction Corporation employs DoD-compliant methods to wipe hard drives before physically destroying them. These methods have been tested and benchmarked against DoD techniques, so you can have total peace of mind knowing that there’s zero risk of a data breach.
There’s full accountability when you enlist a professional data destruction company to wipe your hard drives, which is what you ought to be doing. You get a certificate of data removal for audit and compliance purposes.
Have you ever tried wiping an external hard drive yourself? What were the results like? Sound off in the comments below.