Why You Shouldn’t Rely on a Free File Shredder

Aug 02, 2017 Technical Article

Scanning the internet for a free file shredder to dispose of your organization’s sensitive information? You may want to think twice. While free file shredder software is acceptable for some individuals and organizations, those with a lower risk tolerance or that are highly-regulated will want to invest in a paid file eraser software that offers both verification and certification that the data has been permanently removed.

The Recycle Bin: a Hacker’s Dream

You may already know that files aren’t truly gone once employees place them in the recycle bin. In fact, they’re easily recovered by anyone with a small degree of technical know-how. So now you’re ready for the next level of security. You want to focus on shredding your files so they can’t be restored or retrieved. But shredding also isn’t enough to make sure your files are gone forever. For complete removal, files must be overwritten in such a way that they cannot be recovered no matter what.

File Shredding vs. File Erasure

The term “file shredding” is often used interchangeably with the term “file erasure;” however, there are some core differences. While file shredding destroys data on individual files and folders by overwriting the space with a random pattern of 1s and 0s, it doesn’t verify that the overwriting has been successful and does not produce a report to prove that the data has been successfully erased. Therefore, this method is not considered as an approved method for data sanitization.

File erasure (or data erasure) does perform both verification that the erasure has been successful and certification in the form of an auditable, tamper-proof report. Such a report helps companies achieve data sanitization and comply data security and privacy regulations. Data erasure is a software program that is rewrites files with random series of binary data multiple times.

Choosing a File Erasure Software

Choose a file erasure software that seamlessly integrates with your existing IT environment, including with programs such as Active Directory. The software should be able to remotely execute secure erasure of files and folders on servers and in storage areas across the network, as well as comply with all industry regulations and have the ability to: overwrite selected files (including previous versions stored by Windows), free disk space, temporary files and the recycle bin.

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