Confidently erase data in active environments and from used IT assets.
Boost services throughout the device lifecycle—from first sale to end-of-life.
Expedite processes, recover more marketable product, and increase services.
Home » Resources » Erasing Vs. Deleting: Are Your ‘Deleted’ Files Truly Gone?
While there are a multitude of data destruction methods, many of them contain loopholes that render data recoverable. When choosing between erasing vs. deleting, learn why data erasure is essential to ensuring your files are truly gone.
As Executive Vice President, Products and Technology, Russ Ernst is responsible for defining, driving and executing the product strategy across both the data erasure and mobile diagnostics product suites. Most recently, Russ was Director of Product Management for Lumension, where he was instrumental in expanding the platforms and applications supported for vulnerability remediation content. He often speaks on our webinars about data management and data erasure.
Data is growing at an exponential rate. Keeping track of all your data and keeping it all protected is increasingly challenging. With data in active environments creating a large area of vulnerability, organizations must have a plan of action for safeguarding sensitive, but no longer needed, files and folders. If these files and folders are past retention, or no longer serve a business purpose, the best thing to do is to remove them completely, reducing the data attack surface that you have to manage.
While there are a multitude of data destruction methods, many of them contain loopholes that render data recoverable.
Our Privacy for Sale research study, conducted in conjunction with Ontrack, found that more than 40 percent of second-hand hard drives contained data leftover from the previous user. The leftover data included an array of office and employee emails, photos, and files, creating a risk of personal, financial, and reputational damage to individuals and their employers. In addition, more than 15 percent of those drives contained sensitive information that could be dangerous in the hands of identity thieves or hackers. What’s worse, every seller we purchased drives from insisted that proper data sanitization methods had been performed so that no data was left behind. But, if the user had already attempted to remove all files, why was the data able to be recovered?
Whether reformatting a drive (particularly with a “quick format”), deleting files from an active environment, or even dragging files to the ”Recycle Bin,” the information is still there. All these methods simply remove the pointers to the data without actually removing the data itself. When you are deleting files, it’s crucial to use effective data sanitization methods that are certified and verified.
What happens to data when businesses are unknowingly using inadequate data destruction methods to reduce surplus data? They’re not only left with a false sense of security, but massive amounts of information (like emails, confidential documents, and other sensitive information) are at risk of being exposed and falling into the wrong hands.
In 2021, cyber-attacks exposed nearly seven billion data records according to Identity Theft Resource Center. Alongside breach risk, tougher data protection rules, such as Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), mean that businesses can’t afford to be lax with information management. The GDPR and CPRA “are driving the same storage limitation principle, which supports that organizations need to delete personal data when it’s no longer necessary.” In addition, data storage costs and storage limitations are significant challenges for organizations.
Many don’t realize how many “deleted” files are left behind on their single computer from inadequate data destruction alone. Run a simple recovery program on your PC and prepare to be shocked by the results—the choice between erasing vs. deleting becomes quite clear.
To make sure that you achieve complete data destruction on targeted files and folders, it is essential to avoid these incomplete data destruction methods listed below:
Relying on these methods for data protection is unwise as it leaves you at risk.
So how can businesses make it impossible for “deleted” files to be recovered? The answer is simple: secure data erasure of files on active PCs, servers, and even virtual machines. Secure data erasure uses methods to overwrite files and folders according to an industry standard, then verifies that the erasure has taken place successfully. In addition, for compliance purposes, verified data sanitization should be accompanied by a certificate of erasure noting exactly what was erased, when, by whom, and using what method.
Data in active environments can also be erased automatically according to data management policies you set.
When choosing between erasing vs. deleting, deleting files may seem easy and fast. However, software-based data erasure is the most secure way of getting rid of your data for good, ensuring it’s impossible to recover files and that data cannot be leaked.
To see how easily your business can erase files and get rid of data for good, learn more about Blancco File Eraser, then request your free trial.
Request your free Enterprise Data Erasure Trial.