Data eradication always serves the same purpose, but can take different forms.
When a business decides to recycle or retire old assets, one of their biggest concerns is managing the data that remains on those devices. In most cases, assets have significant data, including customer information, financial information, and proprietary data; completely eradicating these data is vital not just for protecting the interests of the business, but also maintaining compliance with laws and regulations.
Of course, simply deleting old files is not enough to eradicate the data stored on a device. If you want to practice full data eradication, you’ll need a more thorough approach.
Forms of Data Eradication
These are some of the most common and most effective forms of data eradication:
- Deleting and reformatting. As a first step, you can delete the old files on your device, and reformat the disk. Unfortunately, this will not completely eliminate all of the data from the device, but it’s often the first step taken by consumers.
- Data wiping. A full data wipe means you’ll overwrite the disk completely. Data wiping fundamentally eliminates traces of old data, though it can take a long time.
- Multiple data wipes. Even a data wipe can leave behind small traces of information (bit shadowing), so some technology recyclers overwrite data with multiple data wipes. Several passes can completely destroy data.
- Degaussing. Degaussing relies on a high-powered magnet, which interferes with the magnetic field vital to electronic functioning. Degaussing will completely render the hard drive inoperable, which means your data will be destroyed—but it also means you can’t use the hard drive again.
- Physical destruction/shredding. You can do something similar by erasing data with complete physical destruction. Assuming you completely destroy the components of the device, such as with shredding, there can be no way to recover the lost data. Again, this means the device cannot be reused—but it can be recycled.