If you have recently handled large amounts of sensitive data (for personal or professional reasons) that you no longer have any use for, you may be seeking ways to destroy this information properly. This is especially true if the data you are looking to get rid of can become easily stolen and used for nefarious purposes (e.g., data breaches that cost millions of dollars). Fortunately, there is a way to safely destroy and sanitize data via a process known as degaussing a hard drive.
How Does Degaussing Work?
Degaussing typically lasts less than one minute and is generally used to destroy data stored on electronic devices that contain magnetic media (hard drives, access cards, floppy disks, cassette tapes, etc.). The tool used for this process is called a “degausser.” Three common types of degaussers are coil, permanent magnet and capacitive discharge.
This process works by applying a magnetic field to small areas on a device. These areas are referred to as Weiss domains. Throughout the data writing phase, this field forms a verse that establishes how some of the Weiss domains are magnetized. These verses hold “bit values” that are binary (0 or 1). The information can then be erased due to the fact that the Weiss domains have been arranged to face one direction. The magnetic field generated is measured in a unit called oersteds (Oe). This measurement indicates a magnetic field’s level of coercivity.
Not every type of degausser is officially approved by the National Security Administration. Therefore, be sure to verify that your degausser is NSA-approved, especially if you work in the government sector and frequently handle classified data that can become compromised.
Benefits Of Degaussing A Hard Drive
The act of degaussing is safe and beneficial for three main reasons: the data that has been destroyed can never be recovered, the hard drive cannot be utilized again, and this process is specifically designed to abide by compliance regulations. Let’s analyze each of these reasons closely.
Data Is Unrecoverable
Once a hard drive has been degaussed, the information it contains cannot be retrieved in any way. The magnetic field generated by a degausser is so powerful that it can permanently eliminate all of a chromium dioxide (or iron oxide) coating’s magnetic properties.
Hard Drive Cannot Be Used Again
A hard drive cannot store information after it has been degaussed. The magnetic field created is so strong that it virtually removes all reference points for tracking data. After the degaussing process is complete, a hard drive should be properly disposed of and not merely thrown away.
Adheres To Compliance Regulations
Degaussing is intended to ensure that information is rapidly sanitized from the device. It is not possible to apply overwriting erasure software because the software has failed to function. There are several different federal laws and regulations such as COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act), SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley Act), and FISMA (Federal Information Security Modernization Act) designed to ensure that all electronic recycling and data destruction processes are carried out safely and legally. Failure to comply with these regulations can often lead to fines and other penalties. Therefore, it’s critical to always remain informed about updates to these regulations or about any new types of legislation that are passed to dictate compliance.
Reach Out To Professional Degaussing Specialists
Speak to the professionals at e-End in Frederick, Maryland for more information on properly degaussing a hard drive and the benefits of this process. We are proud to be one of the most respected organizations in the Mid-Atlantic region due to having achieved the National Association for Information Destruction’s (NAID®) AAA Certification for specialized data destruction services such as hard drives, optical, film, and any other forms of non-paper media destruction. We cover a wide range of electronic recycling and destruction services, including secure data destruction, equipment, and device destruction, IT asset disposition (ITAD), and International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) destruction services.
We are also validated by some of the highest electronic certifications. We can help you remain compliant with federal laws and regulations such as SOX, FACTA, FISMA, COPPA, HIPAA, and ITAR. At e-End, we are dedicated to protecting both our clients and the environment we live in. We always perform due diligence to ensure that all materials are properly handled and that communication between all parties involved is conducted effectively. We provide both on-site and off-site degaussing services, so we can adjust our work to your preferred location. Call e-End today at 240-713-5855 or contact us online to learn more about degaussing and our other data destruction services.