How Effective is Shredding Drives Internally?

Dec 7, 2019

People used to destroy their hard drives by pounding nails through the disc or dipping them into acid baths.  Unfortunately, these tactics were neither safe nor particularly effective.  Thankfully, most businesses have realized there are more efficient ways to destroy data, and they don’t involve nails or acid baths.

Today, you can either wipe data or simply destroy hard drives and other devices by shredding them. That said, with storage drives like SSDs becoming more complex, and hackers finding new ways to pull data from even shredded hard drives, there are certain requirements that must be met when destroying hard drives to ensure data is irretrievable.

If you choose to shred your drives internally, how effective will it be?

In-House Shredding

Shredding drives internally has never been an ideal means of destroying hard drives or other electronic devices, and there are a couple of reasons why.

Staying in compliance.
First and foremost, consumer privacy laws can change, especially with the advent of new devices. If you do your hard drive shredding in-house, you are responsible for keeping up. This could mean upgrading your shredding equipment frequently, perhaps at considerable cost.  Even so, commercial shredders simply can’t compare to the industrial equipment used by certified IT asset disposition (ITAD) service providers that adhere to and are continually audited and updated to meet data destruction standards such as NIST SP 800-88 Rev. 1.

Disposal Regulations.
In addition, it’s important to understand that you’re not only beholden to consumer privacy and data security laws, but also environmental recycling regulations.  This could include removing toxic materials (like mercury, cadmium, and more) prior to shredding in order to recycle all parts of your electronics appropriately.

Employee Health and Safety.
Safety concerns are also very important to take into account. Along with the toxic materials being a hazard, especially when shredded, putting your employees as risk with grinders, shredders, drills or even just hammers put them at great risk of an injury. Getting involved in doing this type of activity in-house carries more regulatory responsibility than you may be prepared to deal with.

In short, there are many potential problems inherent to internal shredding, not the least of which is your ability to comply with all applicable consumer privacy laws, and any additional regulations governing healthcare, financial, or other specific industries.

Outsourced Shredding

With all of these concerns, you may be asking whether or not outsourced shredding services are any better than in-house physical destruction.  Unfortunately, the answer is not clear cut.  There are certainly unscrupulous service providers that do not fully comply with regulations, and many who will take your money and simply dump or resell your devices without appropriate data destruction or sanitization.

What you need is a certified ITAD service provider that offers assurances, thanks to independent auditing, trusted industry certifications like R2, e-stewards or NAID, with carefully vetted downstream partners and a commitment to remaining up-to-date with applicable privacy and environmental laws.  This is the only way to be sure that your data is effectively destroyed and that you are in full compliance with the law.

If you’re interested in professional ITAD hard drive shredding services for your South Dakota or North Dakota business, contact the experts at SEAM today at 605-274-7326 (SEAM) or online to request a quote and learn more.

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.