The Issue of Data Persistence

Sep 03, 2019 Blog Article

Devices connected to your corporate network may contain data believed to have been deleted. If the data that unknowingly remains is sensitive, its unauthorized exposure can put you at risk. This exposure can jeopardize the reputation of your business and risk incurring financial and other consequences from violating industry and federal data protection regulations.

The risk of unknowingly leaving sensitive data without adequate protection is ample reason to use certified hard drive erasure software. Without software that verifies and certifies the erasure, there’s a good chance you could experience data persistence—also known as data remanence—a situation where data persists, or remains on the drive.

Vivian Cullipher Vivian is a career writer and editor, having covered technology-related topics for government and B2B organizations since before LinkedIn and the iPhone. As Blancco’s head of content, she oversees the development of thought-leadership-based copy for web, social media, and other Blancco communication channels.

The difference between deleting and erasing

Deleting data in Windows/Linux/Apple operating systems leaves data behind. When referring to the default deletion functions of most operating systems, “deleting” only means removing the pointers to the data, not necessarily the data itself.

Even with more rigorous approaches to destroying data, remnants of information may still exist on hard drives in the form of zeros and ones—leaving sensitive information vulnerable to recovery.

Sellers said all data had been wiped. Read about the data we recovered: Privacy for Sale: Data Security Risks in the Second-Hand IT Asset Marketplace

Software-based sanitization tools are needed to truly overwrite data across all areas of the drive to ensure information is gone. This is especially important when

What is data persistence (or data remanence)?

Data remanence is when, even after you’ve deleted files or reformatted data storage devices, there are still residual bits of information left over. Fragments of information can be pieced together by advanced hacking methods, allowing cyber criminals to potentially retrieve sensitive data. File deletion, reformatting, and storage media that allow for previously written information to be recovered do not fully protect your data.

Even if you lose your device or throw it in the trash, data remanence can expose sensitive company information.

Why can’t data be permanently erased?

The process of erasing data can be complicated by many factors. Data persistence on a computer can be exacerbated by:

There is a way to make sure your drives are completely data free. Watch the video: [VIDEO] How to Securely Erase Solid-State Drives (SSDs)

Data persistence has even been observed with static random-access memory (SRAM) at room temperature, even though information storage is temporary and contingent on there being a power source. Dynamic random-access-memory (DRAM) chips must also have a power supply to retain data. Plus, they require contents to be refreshed to prevent data from fading away. However, this process can take several minutes at room temperature and up to a week if the medium is cooled with liquid nitrogen.

How data persistence can harm your business

Many forms of media are used in a modern business environment. Computers and servers may use different storage media, but you must also consider the mobile devices connected to your network and information and applications stored in the cloud. Data persistence on mobile and on company-owned devices can lead to harmful situations such as:

Data persistence can, therefore, lead to downtime, violation of regulations, operational problems, disruption of service to customers and clients, and damage to your company’s reputation.

Eliminating remanent data

For on-premise resources, data destruction takes time and can be costly, depending on the method used. As you’ve seen here, it is important to eliminate remanent data. Here are some ways this can be achieved:

Permanent data destruction with hard drive erasure (or wiping) software

Blancco’s solutions erase devices used by corporations and government entities to make sure that all sensitive data is completely and permanently eradicated. Companies can properly erase hard disk drives and solid-state drives before reuse or permanent disposal.

Our solutions not only eliminate data remanence on these devices, they also generate certified, exportable audit reports to prove data has been wiped.

We offer a free data erasure trial for enterprises and ITADs to show how our software works and what is included in our report. Ask for yours today.

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