If you Google ‘how to destroy an old hard drive’ you will see some fun answers. From turning a blow torch on it to taking it out to sea and throwing it into the water, there are some crazy and hopefully tongue-in-cheek answers out there. And some might even work for a single hard drive from your home PC. But what about company property in large numbers that holds sensitive personal data? How can you ensure that your IT Destruction is done properly?
Why it needs to be destroyed
The first question many businesses ask when the topic of IT destruction comes up is why it needs to be destroyed in the first place. Surely you can just wipe the hard-drive? And yes, you can but as any computer expert will tell you, nothing is ever truly wiped from a computer and there are some very sophisticated data-recovery tools out there. Most of them are used to help businesses recover lost data when something goes wrong – but some are used for more nefarious means.
Yes, your company may not need the same level of secure destruction as someone working for the government or the intelligence services. But if your IT equipment holds things like personal data, payment information or other information that could be used against people by hackers and criminals, then you need to make sure you take steps to ensure this can’t happen.
Finding the right processes
Once you acknowledge that there is a need for experienced, qualified IT destruction for your equipment, the next step is to find a company that can do it. Look for companies that offer some of the most tried and tested methods of destroying IT equipment, so you can be confident in the job that’s being done.
One of the techniques that is a sure way to destroy the content of a hard drive is called degaussing. While it sounds like something weird done in a laboratory, the reality is that it simply means the elimination of a magnetic field. There are two ways to do this – one permanently erases data from hard drivers by passing them through the magnetic fields of rare-earth magnets that are powerful. The second uses an electromechanical pulse that creates a magnetic field to destroy the data within an enclosed chamber.
Punching or crushing involves exerting extreme pressure onto the hard drivers from a steel punch or similar device. This system is ideal if you don’t have huge quantities of drives to be destroyed and can be a cost-effective operation. The aim is to deform the drive enough so that it can’t work – it is still technically there but is nearly impossible to retrieve.
Shredding is something we associate with paper, but specialist companies will have equipment that lets them shred equipment as well. The process is the same but the shredder itself is very different, able to destroy equipment such as cell phones, electronic organisers and hard drivers. Again, the data is still technically present, but the equipment is in so many pieces, no-one can do anything with it.
By using a company which employs one or all of these techniques, you can be confident that the IT equipment you no longer need in the business isn’t going to fall into the wrong hands. And with reliable IT destruction techniques, there is no way that a hacker or criminal is going to be able to use anything they happen to find to get information and cause problems for your business with it.
You can be certain you have covered your data protection obligations in full. Find out more about our IT destruction services and contact us.