5 Ways to Destroy a Hard Drive

Jul 16, 2018

The fear with modern social media is that even when you delete posts, they still remain somewhere, floating in the cloud until they come back to haunt you.  Similar fears need not plague you when it comes to business data.  If you destroy data properly, you can make sure its gone for good, and this is important for a couple of reasons.

First and foremost, you want to protect the best interests of your customers, employees, vendors, business partners, and so on – anyone who entrusts you with confidential information.  These are the people that support your business and you have an ethical obligation to keep their data safe.  Of course, it’s also the law.  Failure to comply with privacy laws could land you in hot water with governing bodies and lead to penalties.

The point is that you need to destroy data properly, and there are several methods of removing it from hard drives.  Which method should you subscribe to?

1.  Deleting or reformatting.  Deleting files is the go-to method of removing data from a desktop, but unfortunately, it does not permanently remove the data from your hard drives.  The same goes for reformatting.  These methods eliminate the ability for the average person to locate the data, but experts like IT professionals can still find it, and so can cyber criminals.  In other words, deleting and reformatting simply aren’t enough to get the job done.

2.  DIY physical destruction.  If you’re not a computer expert, you might think simply destroying the physical components of the hard drive will work better than trying to eliminate the digital data.  You’ve likely seen videos online of people drilling through hard drives, hitting them with a hammer, or putting them in acid baths.  These methods are not only ineffective since data could survive, but also dangerous, as you could harm yourself in the process.

3.  Degaussing.  You may have heard that magnets can be used to erase information on a hard drive, and this is partly true.  Your average fridge magnet won’t do the trick – you’re going to need a powerful magnetic device, which basically means you need to hand hard drives off to a professional service that offers degaussing.

While degaussing will completely eliminate data, this method will also destroy your hard drives, making them nothing more than paper weights.  In addition, devices like SSDs (solid state drives) use flash memory instead of storing data magnetically, so this method won’t work on them.

4.  Wiping.  If you don’t want to completely destroy the hard drive, wiping is an excellent means of permanently removing data.  However, you have to do it right or some data could remain.  Information must be overwritten, often more than once, to ensure complete destruction of data.  Your best option is to have this done by a professional, especially if your plan is to refurbish and resell hard drives.

5.  Shredding.  If you don’t plan to resell hard drives and you want all assurance that data is beyond retrieval, shredding is your best bet.  It’s a good idea to partner with a professional service for this task since they offer specialized equipment and certified experts.

Whether you want to resell hard drives to recoup some cost or you’d rather shred and recycled them, SEAM has the expertise to help Sioux Falls, SD businesses get the job done.  Call 605-274-SEAM (7326) to get started today.