Secure Remote Erasure for Efficient, Flexible IT Asset Disposition

Blancco Drive Eraser enables IT asset disposition (ITAD) service providers to safely decommission storage media without traveling to customer sites. This approach helps ITADs cost-effectively enhance enterprise data security for their customers while also protecting the health of staff during the current public health crisis.

Chris has a 17-year history of working in the ITAD services industry. Before joining Blancco as a sales engineer, he supported the ITAD division at Arrow Electronics with a focus on Blancco deployment, management and technical support. Chris has a bachelor's degree in computer engineering from DeVry and is proficient in business process architecture, data sanitization, troubleshooting and vendor management.

ITAD firms have traditionally provided secure erasure of hard disk drives (HDDs) and solid-state drives (SSDs)—including Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) drives—onsite at their customers’ locations. This approach offers convenience for the customer as well as maintaining security by only allowing drives to leave the secure facility after they have been sanitized.

At the same time, onsite secure erasure can be resource intensive for ITADs to dispatch operators to customer sites.

Moreover, the COVID-19 epidemic compels ITADs to protect their employees and customers by finding alternatives to such travel and in-person interactions where possible. These providers must also adapt to the reality that some of the drives they need to sanitize are now in the homes of remote workers.

Using Blancco Drive Eraser for remote erasure addresses these challenges, allowing ITADs to safely decommission drives that are physically located anywhere, without staff travel.

Novel Workflows Enabled by Remote Erasure

Providers can use Blancco PreInstall to create an MSI package that contains the Blancco Drive Eraser ISO, which will perform the actual erasure tasks. The MSI file can be downloaded on demand, and the process can be either as automated or as manual as the individual customer wants.

For end-user machines, the remote erasure software can also be built into the standard desktop image or deployed using group policy. Remote erasure solutions are implemented by controlling Blancco Drive Eraser (on the target machine) using Blancco Management Console (on a machine at the ITAD provider).

In addition, by configuring Blancco Drive Eraser and Blancco Management Console to use Blancco’s Intelligent Business Routing workflows and remote monitoring, the process can be fully automated, streamlining the erasure from start to finish, including initiating fallback erasure, automatic report sending and initial grading.

In cases where the ITAD has no other means of delivering the install package, it can be saved to a USB drive that can be mailed directly to the end customer.

Blancco Management Console handles licensing for the Blancco Drive Eraser instances on remote machines, as well as being the central hub for reporting and certification of successful erasures. This capability enables ITADs to provide an auditable chain of custody for the data on customer drives, which is particularly critical in regulated industries such as financial services and healthcare.

Many ITADs offer remote erasure as part of full-lifecycle services where they supply and maintain devices such as laptops and desktops to a workforce on a contract basis. They may also provide remote secure erasure as a stand-alone, on-demand service. In either case, Blancco tools help ITADs deliver an excellent user experience, especially for highly distributed work-from-home workforces.

Under these arrangements, secure remote erasure can protect customer data from desktop and laptop machines and provide an auditable chain of custody. Such secure erasure may come into play at various points along the device lifecycle, including:

  • Device end-of-life. When a device’s original purpose is over, secure remote erasure helps safely prepare devices to be reused by the enterprise, donated, disposed of or sold.
  • Upgrade and refresh cycles. When laptops or desktops are replaced during the lease cycle, remote secure erasure sanitizes drives for safe shipping.
  • Break-fix and repair. When a device is damaged and needs to be sent to the ITAD’s repair depot, remote secure erasure avoids the risk of exposing data should the device be lost during transit or otherwise fall into the wrong hands.

Conclusion

Remote erasure using Blancco Drive Eraser gives ITADs the means to decommission drives securely without traveling to where the drive is located or shipping media with sensitive data onboard. ITADs can also provide a better customer experience and free up resources within their customers’ IT operations by taking on these erasure tasks at drive end-of-life. Non-technical, at-home workers can decommission their machines safely, and the successful erasure is verified and documented with a tamper-proof audit trail.

Remote data erasure via Blancco Drive Eraser allows ITADs to modernize their approach to equipment decommissioning, reducing costs while being more responsive to evolving ways of work and data security.

To learn more about Blancco’s remote erasure capabilities, download our solution brief, “Erasing Assets Remotely Using Blancco Drive Eraser.”

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