5 Helpful Tips for Destroying Data on Old Backup Devices

Oct 4, 2022

Did you know that data breaches affect nearly everyone, from large corporations to ordinary people across the street? According to a recent study, over 22 billion records exposed in 2021.

That’s why it’s important to ensure your old backup devices are permanently clean of any data before disposing of them or storing them. But how can you do this effectively? We’ll give you five helpful tips for destroying data on old backup devices so you can rest assured knowing your information is safe.

1. Physically Destroy the Device

This is perhaps the most obvious method. If you want to ensure data on a device is gone for good, you need to destroy the device physically. This could mean:

  • Crushing it with a heavy object
  • Shredding it
  • Burning it
  • Dissolving it in acid

Obviously, these methods are not safe and not always 100% effective. If you try to do it on your own, it requires a ton of effort to ensure the device is unrecognizable, and then, you must make sure to dispose of it appropriately.

2. Expert Data Destruction Services

If you lack the expertise to destroy data on your old backup devices, you should hire a professional data destruction service to do it for you. This is a great option for businesses that need to get rid of large quantities of data quickly and efficiently, or for small amounts from companies or individuals who want a guarantee the job is done right. However, not all professionals are created equal. For data destruction, look for certifications like NAID AAA, eStewards and R2 as proof they can truly destroy the data and back up and type of certificate of destruction they provide you with. Non-certified vendors have no accountability and can type up a “proof of destruction” in a word document that has nothing to back it up.  Certified vendors, on the other hand, must prove their security and destructions procedures to third-party auditors and verify their destruction methods.

4. Overwrite the Data with Gibberish

Overwriting a device with random characters can make the original data unreadable. If you try to do this on your own, there are many ways it could go wrong. From using the wrong software or not doing the necessary wiping steps properly. To ensure complete overwriting has taken place to verify your data is in-fact gone, it’s best to hire a professional. Again, certifications like NAID AAA, eStewards and R2 are imperative when looking for valid data wiping vendors.

5. Encrypt the Data Before Destroying It

If you’re worried about data falling into the wrong hands, you can encrypt it before destroying the device. This means that even if a shady character were to get their hands on your old backup drive, they wouldn’t be able to access the information without the encryption key. However, if you plan to resell your device, you’ll need to make sure the encryption keys are removed and the reseller can access your data to safely destroy and wipe it before reuse..

Relax and Let the Pros Handle It

While these methods are all effective, they can be time-consuming and complicated if you try to attempt them on your own and are unfamiliar with data destruction. They aren’t 100% foolproof, either. If you wish to make sure that your data is gone for good, then the best tactic is to let the pros handle it.

SEAM is a NAID AAA-certified data destruction company, which means we’re prepared to shred hard drives and solid state drives on-site and in-plant according to strict industry standards. Clients in North Dakota and South Dakota rely on us to destroy their data safely and securely, and you can, too. Contact us today to get started.

SEAM provides IT recycling and data destruction services including onsite shredding and hard drive wiping to South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska.

Schedule a pickup or contact us for more information.