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Home » Resources » Is Data Erasure Really Secure?
While this type of physical destruction is certainly valuable in any IT security policy, it’s not always the best option
Yes, shredding most traditional drives will render the data irrecoverable, but destroying newer technologies, such as SSDs, has been found to leave data on drive fragments, creating the possibility of a data breach while rendering the drive unusable.
Secure, certified data erasure has become a popular choice for organizations wanting to dispose of sensitive data records. Data erasure can add additional security to a physical destruction project. It can also be used as the sole means of removing data from drives, mobile phones, removable media and more.
But is data erasure secure enough to replace physical destruction?
To explore the security credentials of software-based data erasure, we must first look at the limitations of physical destruction. Physical destruction has been an industry stalwart for the history of IT hardware, particularly for hard disk drives. But it’s not the only, and often not the best, option for highly sensitive data stored on newer drive types.
SSDs and other IT assets can be physically destroyed with brute force, but because of the increasingly dense way data is stored, intact chips and the data they contain can remain on shards of shredded hardware. This vulnerability, plus drive replacement expenses, can be costly to business.
It’s also costly to the environment. As the “green” movement gains momentum and global technology needs skyrocket, there’s concern over the rapid consumption of natural resources for new devices, as well as the vast number of used devices (e-waste) going into landfills.
Given these two physical destruction concerns, organizations are taking a closer look at their bottom line and their role in sustainability while holding to strict standards of secure data protection.
Governments, industry organizations, and standards bodies around the world have created a range of guidelines for securely eliminating data from data storage assets like drives and computers. Here’s a summary of them, including NIST Clear…