How to Destroy Hard Drive Data (And Why Sometimes It’s Best Not To)

As more data is being stored and accessed, vulnerabilities increase along with the value of the information. It is estimated that 80 percent of corporate laptops and desktops store confidential or sensitive data, leading many to wonder how to destroy hard drive data. As we begin to realize the value of this data the protection of it becomes more of a concern, not only to businesses but to consumers as well. This may be the reason data breach costs are increasing.

Delete The Data And Format The Hard Drive Image - DD

Can’t You Just Delete the Data and Format the Hard Drive?

A standard computer will store your files on a hard drive; specifically a stack of spinning disks coated in a magnetic film. This film acts like billions of tiny magnets, each of which can be in one of two positions, representing either a one or a zero. All of your files: documents, pictures, music, and movies, are encoded on these disks as sequences of ones and zeros. To keep things organized, the hard drive has a table of contents that indicates which parts of the drive are currently in use and where each file is stored.
Deleting a file only deletes the file’s information from the drive’s table of contents; the ones and zeros that make up the file remain on the drive. Until this data is overwritten, it is easy enough to look at this ghost data and reconstruct the file.

Don’t Take Hard Drive Data Destruction into Your Own Hands

A more sophisticated method of removing a file is to repeatedly overwrite the file data with random values and then delete it. But a DIY approach to the problem of how to destroy hard drive data isn’t guaranteed to destroy the data completely; when viewed under a magnetic force microscope, a tiny magnet on the drive that has recently been switched from a 1 to a 0 will look slightly different to one that has been in the 0 position for a long time. With a well-equipped lab, it may still be possible to reconstruct the deleted data.

The significance of securing confidential data is critical. This is why, when considering how to destroy hard drive data, rely on a third-party IT asset disposition vendor like Data Destruction Corporation who specializes in data destruction to destroy data on retired hard drives.

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How to Destroy Hard Drive Data the Right Way

Wondering how to destroy hard drive data in a way that won’t be easily recoverable? As a business looking to destroy the data on your hard drive, you need to know that confidential and proprietary data is completely and irretrievably destroyed at the end of the asset’s useful life. When it comes to ensuring that all data is completely wiped from an asset, off-site data wiping is the perfect solution, guaranteeing you the peace of mind that you need.

At Data Destruction Corporation, we comply with nothing less than the highest industry standards when it comes to off-site data wiping. Our policies and procedures have been custom created to ensure that hard drives, IT assets, and any other electronic component that has ever contained data are wiped or destroyed to such an extent that the data is completely irretrievable.

Destroy Hard Drive Image - DD

Sometimes It Pays To Physically Destroy A Hard Drive Instead

Varying specifications of hard drives can be the first step in assessing whether the device can be reused or should be processed for end-of-life recycling. After all, when wondering how to destroy hard drive data, it is important to note that not all storage devices are good candidates for DOD certified wiping. In order to be wiped, a device must be in good working condition, which means that we need to have a Plan B ready to deal with a device that fails – or is otherwise unsuitable for – the hard drive data wiping process.

That’s where hard drive shredding come in.

Purging and shredding of hard drives is a popular solution for data destruction especially if your hard drive:

  • stores highly-sensitive information,
  • is unusable or fails the data wiping process,
  • was manufactured before 2007, or
  • if you simply have no desire to reuse your equipment.

To find out more about how to destroy hard drive data the right way, contact Data Destruction Corporation today.

Resources

Best Practices for Removing All Data from Your Equipment before Disposing of it
How Do You Properly Destroy A Hard Drive?
The right way to destroy an old hard drive

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