Hard Drive Data Wiping 101

Feb 8, 2019

Responsible organizations put a lot of resources into protecting confidential data, especially the data entrusted to them by customers, as a way to protect their business and comply with laws designed to protect consumer privacy. With so much digital data residing on computer equipment, network servers, and mobile devices, your organization simply can’t do without security measures like firewalls, antivirus software, password protection, encryption, and more.

However, an overlooked piece of the security puzzle often comes at the device’s “end-of-life”, or in other words, when you’re finished using it. What can you do to ensure the same level of security during the asset disposition process, especially if you want to refurbish and sell used equipment to recoup some cost? Your best bet is to partner with a certified ITAD (IT asset disposition) service provider that can offer assurances of complete data destruction through a comprehensive wiping process.

When it comes to hard drive wiping, how can you be sure it will meet legal standards and protect your organization and your customers?

What is Hard Drive Wiping?
Wiping hard drives refers to a process by which a computer program overwrites data, often with something innocuous like zeros, so that no trace of former data remains. In essence, it eliminates the confidential data you were storing (rather than removing it) by replacing it with other data. The wiping process generally entails several overwriting passes to ensure total elimination. There may also be a verification pass that ensures that the wiping process was successful.

How Can You Be Sure You’re Safe?
The best way to ensure proper overwriting, in keeping with federal, state, and local privacy laws, as well as industry standards set forth by HIPAA, FACTA, and so on, is to work with trained professionals that know what they’re doing and how to comply with applicable laws. As you probably know, there are programs that allow you to undertake the wiping process on your own, but if you’re not a professional, you could make any number of mistakes that expose your company to a data breach and your clients to identity theft, not to mention the subsequent consequences.

If you have an in-house IT department, you could elect to wipe hard drives on your own, but often times IT staff prefer to spend their time on less labor and time intensive tasks that could save costs and improve efficiencies if outsourced. By partnering with a certified ITAD service provider, you can eliminate the time and resources needed to wipe hard drives in compliance with existing laws. The right service provider will offer secure pick-up, transportation, and storage, as well as 24/7 monitoring of progress with a client portal for complete peace of mind and documented compliance.

A certified ITAD company will use multi-pass wiping and verification to ensure the job is done right the first time and may even help you to recoup cost by refurbishing, remarketing, and reselling equipment when possible. Not only will you know data is destroyed on any devices that may be resold, but all devices that would’ve ended up in the landfill are also wiped clean or completely destroyed and responsibly recycled.

Next Steps

If you’re a Sioux Falls area business or have facilities located in the upper Midwest, contact the experts at SEAM today at 605-274-SEAM (7326) or online to learn more. SEAM helps organizations who are concerned about safely and securely destroying data during the ITAD process, not only to keep their business protected, but also securely salvage devices for resale.