If you are looking to let go of your computers, servers, or any data-storing devices or pieces of equipment, secure data erasure is extremely important. Whether you’re the owner of a personal device or you manage a fleet of business IT assets, you’ll need your data thoroughly wiped before you either dispose or sell them.
What is Secure Data Erasure?
Secure data erasure is one of the three methods to achieve data sanitization and although used interchangeably with secure data destruction by some people, it is slightly different than data destruction. I will explain the differences between these terms in a while. For now, let’s explore what data erasure is.
Data erasure is a software-based overwriting which is used to clear the contents of a hard drive or any storage device that completely deletes the contents of the media irrecoverably. Deletion commands only remove the file but until that location of deleted data is not occupied by new data, it can be recovered by the software. You know what? Let’s Dive DEEPER! I will make sure you understand this in detail.
Basically, digital data is stored as a series of 0’s and 1’s across the hard drive and when you delete the files, the files are not completely eradicated. Until that space is not occupied by new files (new series of 0’s and 1’s), that file is still recoverable using the software.
The process of data erasure entails software-based overwriting and iterative verification to truly see if the deleted data has vanished or not. So, data erasure is the process of software-based overwriting that removes the contents of a drive beyond recovery and backs that up with a certificate.
What is Secure Data Destruction?
As the name suggests, data destruction is the process of destructing the data contents of a disk drive. Now, there are several ways to do it. One simple way is to just shred the drive into a fine powder. You can degauss the drive using a strong magnet and completely remove their data. Technically, data erasure is also a method of data destruction. In this respect, you can consider data destruction as an umbrella term that covers all methods of data destruction.
If you know everything about secure data destruction, now go ahead and learn why data erasure and data destruction are different concepts. However, if you feel like you want to go down the rabbit hole, there’s a detailed blog that covers everything about this topic. Go ahead and see this blog about Secure Data Destruction.
Also read: The Best Hard Drive Destruction Methods That Work
Secure Data Erasure Vs. Secure Data Destruction: Key Differences
Secure Data Destruction
Secure Data Erasure
|Data destruction is the process of destructing the data present in a storage device by any method.||Secure data erasure is a software-based overwriting that ensures that no data can be recovered|
|Data destruction may not necessarily accompany certificates of destruction.||Data erasure is backed by a certificate that a company attests to the complete irrecoverability of the data.|
|Data destruction methods such as physical destruction and degaussing render the device completely useless for use.||Data erasure is a method that destructs only the data and ensures the device’s usability.|
Usually, data erasure is a more flexible method but sometimes organizations might require options for data destruction as well. It all depends on the kind of requirement, the number of devices, and the constraints of the organization.
Personal or Consumer Concerns Related to Data Erasure
Why don’t I just delete my files?
While the words “delete” and “erase” may technically be synonyms, they are not the same when applied in the context of data destruction. When you delete your files, you simply make it inaccessible to the user. However, data recovery is still possible if special techniques and software are implemented. It is safe to say that file or data deletion is simply temporary. When you need to free up your memory or organize your files, that’s when deleting is best.
Erasing data using a certified data erasure software irrecoverably deletes the contents of the storage device. The process removes them from the device as if they were never there in the first place.
Why isn’t a Factory Reset Enough?
If you are planning to decommission your business’ IT assets, proceeding without data erasure may result in a data breach as data can be recovered even after the physical destruction of the storage device. Mobile devices have flash memory, and with a factory reset, the contents of the chip itself may still be there, but the operating system (or you) will not be able to see it. Again, it would take expert hands to recover those files, but they are recoverable unless secure data destruction or erasure has been achieved.
What about a Hard Drive Format? Would that do the Trick?
Similar to the effects of a factory reset, formatting your hard drive may not remove the data still stored in your computer or laptop. Though there would be extra steps needed to access that data, data recovery is still possible as the data is intact even after formatting until rewritten.
The purpose of a format is to take out the device’s file system so that a new one can be created – a good way to think about it is that the original data may be ‘buried’ under the new file system. It’s invisible to the OS but it is technically still there. Consider using certified data erasure software to wipe your data so that it’s impossible to be recovered using any method.
My laptop/cellphone/tablet/computer is beyond damaged. Should I still submit this for data wiping?
If you are planning to throw it away or send it to a recycling facility, then yes, the best thing to do would be to submit the device for data wiping. You should at least consult with an IT specialist for a recommended data erasure software to achieve data security (they likely will).
Your device might be so damaged that the data could be unreadable – but this is unlikely as electronic devices are a lot smarter than we thought! If yours is a personal device, time spent on the data erasure shouldn’t take too long, especially when the best resources are used and you’ve got a qualified specialist doing the work.
Business Concerns Related to Data Erasure
Why is Professional Secure Data Erasure Important for Us?
If you are planning to decommission your business’ IT assets, proceeding without data erasure may result in a data breach. If you sell or dispose of your servers, for example, without having data erasure performed on them first, you would be exposing the sensitive data of your clients, employees, and company as a whole.
Data breaches have caused serious trouble for plenty of businesses – identity theft, credit card fraud, wire fraud, or other types of data-related crime. In the worst cases, data may even be held for ransom, similar to ransomware attacks. There’s plenty at stake when it comes to data security.
We need to upgrade our IT assets but we do not want to lose our data. Would a data backup be included in the process?
Yes, that can certainly be arranged, most likely with the same provider you sought for your secure data destruction. If data needs to be moved to your new servers or devices, they will likely be backed up first before the original data in the old assets will be erased.
In the same way that information from hard copies dated decades ago was transferred to today’s digital storage systems, digitally stored information can always be transferred to assets you believe are of better quality or are more up-to-date.
We are not confident with selling our IT assets even after secure data destruction. What can be done about them?
If you choose to dispose of your old IT assets instead, the best way to do so is to submit them to a recycling facility. They will be disassembled and picked apart – materials such as copper or metal can still be used to create other pieces of equipment.
Eco IT Solutions Can Provide Secure Data Erasure for You
Whether it’s a personal device or a business asset that needs data wiped off, we at Eco IT Solutions have got you covered. With our data erasure software Blancco, you can rest assured that your sensitive information won’t fall in the wrong hands.
Ask us about our services today. You may call us on 02 8055 3775 or email us at email@example.com. You may also contact us through our website’s inquiry form.