An in-depth guide to data destruction

A crucial element of securing intellectual property is the regular elimination of information plus documents you don’t have. Here is the scoop on overwriting, degaussing and physical damage of media.

Here is a glimpse at several of the pros and cons of the 3 major techniques of data destruction.

One of the more typical methods to tackle data remanence – the recurring representation of information which stays on storage media after attempts erase it – would be to overwrite the media with fresh information.

Because overwriting could be accomplished by software and also may be utilized selectively on an element or even most of a storage medium, it is a somewhat simple, inexpensive choice for a few apps, experts claim.

Of all the greatest benefits of this particular technique is that one pass is enough for information removal, so long as most information storage regions are addressed.

Application could additionally be set up to clean certain information, documents, partitions or even only the free space on storage media. Overwriting erases almost all remnants of deleted information to preserve protection, Rothke says, and also it is an eco-friendly solution.

On the downside, it requires a very long time to overwrite a whole high capacity drive. This technique may not have the ability to sanitize data from inaccessible areas such as for instance host protected areas. Furthermore, there’s no security protection throughout the erasure procedure, and it’s subject to accidental or intentional parameter changes. Overwriting may call for a specific license for each hard drive, so the task is ineffective with no great quality assurance processes.

An additional aspect to look into is the fact that overwriting works only once the storage media isn’t damaged and it is still writable, says Vivian Tero, program director for governance, possibility and compliance infrastructure at research firm IDC (a sister company to CSO’s publisher).

By following standards produced by the Department of Defense as well as the National Institute of Technology and standards, “you is sure the [overwritten] information is unusable,” and unreadable. “There are reports I have seen in which individuals will confirm which they are able to discover things on drives which are overwritten. Though I believe if you stick to the standards you significantly minimize the chance that that could be case.”


Degaussing is the removal or perhaps reduction of the magnetic field of a storage disk or even drive. It is done using a device known as a hard drive degausser, and that is created specifically for the place being erased.

When put on to magnetic storage media like hard disks, floppy disks or magnetic tape, the procedure of degaussing can effectively and quickly purge a whole storage medium.

A vital advantage to degaussing is it makes data entirely unrecoverable, making this process of destruction especially appealing for combating extremely sensitive data.

On the bad side, strong degausser products could be heavy and expensive, plus they could have particularly powerful electromagnetic fields which could create collateral damage to vulnerable equipment close by.

Additionally, degaussing can produce damage that is irreversible to hard drives. It eliminates the unique servo control details on the drive, and that is intended to get completely embedded. After the servo is destroyed, the drive is unusable.

Once disks are rendered inoperable by degaussing, companies might not have the ability to resolve drives or maybe honor replacement warranties and service contracts.

There is additionally the problem of securing press throughout the procedure of degaussing. “If there are stringent requirements which prevent exit of decommissioned and failed press from the information center, then the group should designate physical space in the information center to secure the press and tools for the disk eradication” procedure.

Actual physical Destruction

Businesses could certainly actually destroy details in several methods , like disk shredding, melting or maybe some additional technique that produces physical storage media unusable and also unreadable.

Among the biggest benefits of this particular strategy is it offers the highest assurance of complete destruction of the information. There is no likelihood that someone is going to be ready to reconstruct or maybe recover the information from a disk or even drive that is been physically destroyed.

On the down side, actual physical damage could be a costly method to eliminate data, because of the increased capital costs involved.