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A Guide To Data Destruction

Author : Jamie Simpson

Submitted : 2011-03-30 18:06:31    Word Count : 461    Popularity:   8

Tags:   data destruction

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Data destruction is often over looked when developing a comprehensive security plan. However, it is one of the most important components of an effective security plan. Discarding data without proper destruction can result in the data falling into the hands of criminals and have devastating public relations effects. Data needs to be secured and protected from the time that it is written until the time that it is properly disposed of; failure to do this can result in liability from breaches and leaks. There are many ways to properly dispose of data, and the best methods employ a variety of these options. Data can be overwritten, magnetically destroyed or even shredded.

To overwrite the data, the drive or disk is rewritten several times to make it difficult to recover previous information from the drive. Typically, the drive will first be erased, and then it will be overwritten and erased again, until the desired threshold is met. It is important to note that the drive may need to be over written as many as thirty times to prevent data from being recovered! This method can be part of a data destruction plan, but should not be relied upon to be the entire plan in itself.

Magnetically destroying a drive uses powerful magnets to scramble the information on the drive. One must take special care to ensure that the magnets only come in contact with media that has data on it that needs to be destroyed; it is possible to inadvertently destroy data that needs to be saved in this manner. However, as with overwriting data, sometimes the information can still be recovered. It is best to use another method alongside this one.

Shredding the data is the most effective way to ensure its destruction. Industrial grade shredders can shred drives or disks into tiny fragments, making recovery of the data nearly impossible. When used with overwriting or magnetic destruction, this is the best method to ensure the data is completely destroyed and is not capable of recovery.

The best data destruction plan will incorporate all of the methods above. It will start with the data being overwritten, then magnetically destroyed, and then shredded. This is the best way to ensure the data will never wind up in the wrong hands and that a costly leak or breach will be avoided.

Data destruction can seem like a daunting task, but it is needed to ensure maximum security. If sensitive data is involved, it is best to use multiple means of destruction together to ensure that the data cannot be recovered at all. It might be tempting just to toss a hard drive and believe it to be safe in the landfill, but this can lead to data leaks and breaches.

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