Erasing Data – The Key to Digital Defense

With World Backup Day serving as a bookend to Digital Spring Cleaning Month in March, technology users across the globe are taking extra care of their devices and data. World Backup Day was originally created by a few Reddit users who were concerned about the preservation of their digitized information. It now acts as a reminder to not only backup devices, but also the importance of erasing data that’s unnecessary […]

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Katie joined Blancco in November 2016. As Senior Product Marketing Manager, she is responsible for providing sales team support for product selling and training. She also acts as champion for new product innovations throughout the organization. Since 2011, Katie has focused on launching and supporting marketing campaigns for B2B technology companies.

With World Backup Day serving as a bookend to Digital Spring Cleaning Month in March, technology users across the globe are taking extra care of their devices and data. World Backup Day was originally created by a few Reddit users who were concerned about the preservation of their digitized information. It now acts as a reminder to not only backup devices, but also the importance of erasing data that’s unnecessary and keeping sensitive information safe in the midst of abundant cybercrime.

Almost half of all consumers fall victim to cybercrime each year, with the way they store their data acting as their own worst enemy. Though individuals and companies may not be able to stop tech-savvy cybercriminals entirely, both preventative and post-crime measures can be taken to safeguard highly sensitive information. With recent data breaches impacting millions of individuals, it’s more important than ever for consumers and companies alike to take some precautionary measures in their digital lives, even if they think it can’t happen to them.

Data breaches date further back than the digital age, as a breach can happen whenever an unauthorized individual obtains access to confidential and potentially sensitive information. Increased technology use and digital database storage have made it easy for cybercriminals to obtain mass amounts of confidential information and use it however they wish. Last year’s Equifax breach, for example, left more than 145 million Americans victim to exposed names, driver’s license numbers, and even social security numbers. These breaches are becoming commonplace in society, and it is no secret that most consumers will be affected by cybercrime at some point in their lives.

Digital Defense

Although consumer data is relatively well-protected by most companies, identity theft as the result of a data breach is among the hardest to detect and prevent. With access to sensitive information such as a social security number, cybercriminals can easily open new accounts, make fraudulent charges or even collect tax returns using stolen W-2 information. Even though large-scale data breaches are out of an individual consumer’s control, several defensive measures can be taken to protect private information and ensure data is secure.

Whether you’re concerned about the care and protection of your devices, or just want to improve upon your safeguarding practices, be sure to follow these tips for a successful World Backup Day:

  • Backup: Programs, files and data on a secure backup disk or drive
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Contrary to popular ways of managing data, not all information needs to be backed up forever. In fact, once data has passed its retention date, is no longer necessary or crucial to your business, or when it’s redundant or obsolete, it’s best to securely erase that data to reduce your attack surface in the event of a breach. Erasing data you don’t need will also cut down the costs of how much data you’re managing—saving you time and money. And don’t forget to securely erase data on IT assets before they leave your facility for resell, recycling or destruction. This sensitive information could be compromised in transit, putting your business in hot water.

  • Update: Install security updates and security software

Going the extra mile to be alerted of any potentially fraudulent activity associated with your personal data is imperative to protecting and preserving your most sensitive information. Protecting your devices from malware and viruses is also extremely helpful for the health of your device, as is practicing due diligence to secure the data you choose to digitize.

  • Defend: Change passwords frequently, and check accounts and financial statements

In addition to securing your perimeter and cutting down on the amount of resources required to manage data, data erasure is also necessary to meet regulatory requirements in many instances. Take the General Data Protection Regulation, for example. Article 17 of the GDPR offers consumers the ‘Right to Erasure,’ which means companies must erase their sensitive data upon request. In addition, regulations such as PCI DSS demand that retailers and other organizations erase private credit card data on a regular, ongoing basis to ensure and prove compliance with erasure reports.

Blancco data erasure solutions address erasure across all IT assets at any point in the data lifecycle, whether data is in active or inactive environments. With Blancco File Eraser, organizations can proactively and automatically erase files in active environments. Each Blancco erasure product, including File Eraser, produces an auditable, tamper-proof Certificate of Erasure to meet compliance. Blancco Management Console gives organizations the ability to manage all data erasure licenses, create and modify users and have complete visibility of erasure activities, with the benefit of a centralized point of data management control with 100% certified, tamper-proof audit reports.

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Data Erasure FAQs:

If you are unsure about where to start when it comes to safely erasing files, you’re not alone. To set the record straight, here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions about data removal:

  • Is software-based data erasure expensive? In fact, data erasure can save you money versus storing data onsite.
  • How does data erasure work? Data erasure software overwrites data from a storage device using zeros and ones onto all sectors of the device. By overwriting the data on the storage device, the data is rendered unrecoverable and achieves data sanitization. To achieve data erasure, the software must: allow for selection of a specific standard, based on your industry and organization’s unique needs; verify the overwriting methodology has been successful and removed data across the entire device, or target data (if specifically called); and produce a tamper-proof certificate containing information that the erasure has been successful and written to all sectors of the device, along with data about the device and standard use.
  • How does data erasure compare to physical destruction? Data erasure is an environmentally-friendly option that guarantees data sanitization across all IT assets, including SSDs, which have historically proven difficult to physically destroy without leaving information behind. With data erasure, organizations can erase and reuse IT assets, saving money.

From employing data erasure across the full lifecycle of your data, to implementing and enforcing data security best practices, to backing up important data to ensure it’s available when needed for compliance purposes, take time this World Backup Day to consider the data you have. What value does it have to your business? Is it needed for compliance and retention purposes? If so, back it up and protect it! If not, consider securely erasing it.

To find out more about how Blancco File and other active erasure solutions can help your organization elevate endpoint security and guarantee compliance, download the white paper: “A New Take on Endpoint Security Best Practices: Better Data Hygiene and Secure Erasure.”

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