thumbnail image for blog post: How Does Hard Drive Shredding Work?

As a business owner, you may be understandably concerned about handing over hard drives containing sensitive data to a third-party service provider. What if your vendor fails to wipe drives before reselling them or dumps them in the trash without wiping them?

Of course, you might not have the expertise to manage the task of proper hard drive destruction on your own, leaving you with no alternative but to hire professional outside help. In this case, you need to have some idea of how hard drive shredding is supposed to work and how to go about finding a suitable service provider. Here are a few things you should know.

Hard Drive Wiping
Regardless of how you choose to do away with your hard drives, the first step should always entail removing any and all traces of data remaining on discs. In case you didn’t know, deleting files doesn’t actually erase them from your hard drive, even when you make sure to clear out your digital recycle bin regularly.

Deleting files simply tells the computer that the space where those files reside is available to be overwritten. When and how that space is overwritten depends on a number of factors, including how often you defrag your discs and how much new data you save. In other words, there could be a lot of sensitive data still hanging around even after you delete files.

It is for this reason that reputable shredding services will always begin by documenting serial numbers for the hard drives they collect and then systematically wiping them, or overwriting the entire disc with a random series of zeros or ones to eliminate all traces of remaining data.

Hard Drive Shredding
If you’re firm on shredding hard drives, the next step in the process entails physically destroying hard drives and recycling remains in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, including National Institute of Technology (NIST) standards. Further, a reputable and reliable service provider will furnish Certificates of Destruction and Recycling with related serial numbers for your hard drives as proof of destruction. In many cases, businesses have the option to choose on-site or off-site shredding services, meaning you can watch while your hard drives are destroyed, if you so choose.

The Option for Resale
Upgrading technology is by no means cheap, and many businesses are keen to recover some value from the resale of old equipment. It’s natural to be hesitant about reselling hard drives, but the right partner can be counted on to thoroughly wipe drives in preparation for resale, and in keeping with NIST standards for data sanitization.

Choosing a Suitable Provider
When seeking an appropriate partner to wipe, shred, recycle, or resell hard drives, it is imperative to look for a solid reputation and proper certifications. You’ll want to ask about certifications for ITAD (IT asset disposition) like e-Stewards and R2, as well as memberships with organizations like the National Association for Information Destruction (NAID). It’s important to find a service provider that meets the highest standards for data destruction and recycling to ensure that your confidential data is properly destroyed.