Information is a highly valuable commodity that millions of people across the world enjoy rapid access to. However, the electronic data of organizations or individuals—especially personal information—may easily become compromised if it is not adequately protected. This is also true for personal electronic data in large amounts, electronic data that is no longer needed, and electronic information that has failed to be properly destroyed. There are several ways to safely destroy electronic data, but before we discuss these methods it’s important to define what electronic data destruction is.
What Is Electronic Data Destruction?
Electronic data destruction is the process by which information is removed from electronic devices such as tapes, hard drives and other electronic media. The purpose of this process is to make data contained on these items completely irretrievable. Electronic data destruction is much more elaborate than simply deleting a file on a storage device. A professional who performs this type of work is known as an electronic data destruction specialist.
The Main Responsibilities Of An Electronic Data Destruction Specialist
An experienced electronic data destruction specialist should be knowledgeable about all commonly used methods for destroying information. Here are the five primary responsibilities of an electronic data destruction specialist.
Performing Compliant Electronic Data Destruction Services
There are several federal regulations that dictate how personally identifiable information (PII) must be protected. These laws include the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Be sure to always stay informed about updates to these regulations and how to remain compliant with them. An electronic data destruction services organization will often give you a certificate that demonstrates you are compliant with these regulations.
Degaussing is a method of electronic data destruction that involves randomizing the direction of magnetic domains on an electronic device such as a hard drive or a floppy disk. The machine used to perform this process is called a degausser. There are many advantages to the degaussing process, including the fact that it is a guaranteed way to permanently erase information. However, some degaussers are heavy and the electromagnetic fields they generate are sometimes powerful enough to damage vulnerable items in their vicinity.
Physical destruction (shearing, incinerating, pulverizing, etc.) is another effective method of eliminating data. These machines are used by data destruction specialists to completely destroy hard drives and the devices carrying the data. It is important to use the proper methods of physical destruction and not just destroying the devices (smashing with a hammer, burning, dissolving in acid, etc.). Even though this option is typically expensive, improper physical destruction is not eco-friendly. If you improperly physically destroy an electronic device in an outdoor location, you may potentially harm the environment by unleashing toxic materials such as lead, chromium and brominated flame retardants into the atmosphere.
Erasure is an electronic data destruction method that is similar to overwriting (replacing old data with new information by using a binary system of zeros and ones). If your company has obtained its electronic devices via lease, erasure may be your best option. Unlike deletion, erasure permanently destroys data. Examples of data erasure software include Blancco and WhiteCanyon.
Shredding is one of the most secure and cost-efficient methods of destroying data stored on a device. A hard drive shredder completely grinds up every component of this type of device. This method can be used to destroy hard drives and eliminate the threat of data breaches. As always, it’s important to remain compliant with federal regulations when shredding data.
The Importance Of Electronic Data Destruction
It is important to safely destroy stored data because failure to do so may result in your information becoming compromised. If you work for an organization that handles sensitive personal information, it is especially imperative for you to securely erase data you no longer need. A professional data destruction company will have all of the basic tools necessary for performing this service.
Consider Electronic Data Destruction Services With e-End
Reach out to the professionals at e-End in Frederick, Maryland for more information on the various data destruction methods. We are one of the most respected organizations in the Mid-Atlantic region due to the fact that we have achieved NAID® AAA Certification for specialized data destruction services such as hard drives and SSDs. Our services include secure data destruction, IT Asset Disposition (ITAD), and International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) destruction services. We are validated by the highest electronic certifications to ensure you remain compliant with SOX, FISMA, FACTA, and HIPAA, among other federal regulations.
At e-End, we offer several different types of secure data destruction methods, including degaussing (on-site and off-site) and hard drive shredding. We can destroy devices such as open-reel tapes, cassette tapes, hard drives, and floppy disks. We are committed to protecting the environment and always perform downstream due diligence to ensure all materials are properly handled.