Should You Invest in Data Destruction Software?

Aug 02, 2017 Technical Article

So your organization has come to the realization that you need to destroy your excess, outdated, trivial and end-of-life data. Now it’s time to decide which data sanitization method you should invest in. You could choose physical destruction, cryptographic erasure, data erasure software or more. But which methods actually work for data destruction, and what kind of data destruction software should you choose?

What is Data Destruction?

Blancco defines data destruction as the process of destroying data from digital storage media so that it is completely unreadable and cannot be accessed or used for unauthorized purposes. Data destruction is often used interchangeably with the term data sanitization; however, data destruction differs from data sanitization because it does not use advanced forensic tools to verify the residual data that may reside on the storage media is in fact unrecoverable.

Data Destruction vs. Data Sanitization

Maybe we should take a step back. Is data destruction actually what your business needs, or is data sanitization what you’re really looking for? If verification is not part of the destruction process, you may end up being non-compliant with data privacy and protection regulations or face added data breach fees if information is left behind on your devices.

Blancco defines data sanitization as the process of deliberately, permanently and irreversibly removing or destroying the data stored on a memory device to make it unrecoverable⁠—a definition in line with Gartner’s 2019 Hype Cycles. A device that has been sanitized has no usable residual data, and even with the assistance of advanced forensic tools, the data will not ever be recovered. According to Gartner, there are three methods to achieve data sanitization: physical destructioncryptographic erasure and data erasure.

You now have three effective methods from which to choose. But if it’s data destruction software you’re looking for, your best fit is data erasure—a software based-method of permanently removing data that includes verification and certified reporting.

The Answer: Data Erasure Software (NOT Data Destruction Software)

There are several data erasure software products on the market. When evaluating your options, ensure that the software product you choose follows these guidelines:

  1. Allows for selection of a specific standard, based on your industry and organization’s unique needs.
  2. Verifies the overwriting methodology has been successful and removed data across the entire device, or Target Data (if specifically called).
  3. Produces 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 used.

You should also look for data erasure certifications, patents and a wide variety of supported erasure standards when choosing a vendor.

See how our data erasure solutions can help your organization go beyond simple data destruction.

Contact Blancco for your free data erasure trial for enterprise organizations.

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