Data Annihilation Methods
Nowadays most of companies and organizations’ information are stored not on paper but on hard drives. Reems of paper are replaced with computers, binders are replaced with HDDs or SSDs. The result is that digital security has become number one priority in governments, organizations and companies and this improvement by experts will be continuous.
Mechanisms for security should be strong against internal and also external threats. The first step towards digital information security begins when information on hard disks are not useful anymore. Data annihilation generally means all the processes and mechanisms involving sensitive data erasure from hard drives.
To destroy sensitive information from SSDs and HDDs, there are three methods. Based on sensitivity of information, we can use one or a combined method of these three.
1) Safely removing information: safe data removers are machines that without the help of computer or internet or any connection to networks can remove data with complex and safe algorithms.
Deleted data are not restorable, however, the hard drives will remain usable again. This method’s advantage is that you can use the hard drives again and again so in fact it is beneficial for organizations if we consider the costs involved.
2) Degaussing: degaussing machines are the most popular among data erasure machines all around the globe. Their mechanism is simple and very secure. It has an effective magnetic field of 1.5 tesla. This causes all the information on the hard to be deleted and not usable again. Some advantages of this method are it’s low noise and it’s high speed. Regarding the importance of fighting against threats, as soon as a hard drive is not wanted, it can be degaussed and ready to be delivered to the security office or warehouse of the organization.
3)Physically destroying data: some data destroyers can physically destroy devices that store information. If combined with the second method (Degaussing) they can create the highest level of security available for hard drives. It’s mechanism is totally physical. Hard drives are put into the machine and then get shredded to tiny unusable pieces. This prevents data getting stolen.
Hard shredders are most common as:
» Hammer mill destroyers
» Various types of shredders
The first group only break hard drives into two parts so have lower security level. But the second group can create tiny pieces and as a result can be trusted more.
Combining the second and third methods: achieving highest levels of security in data erasure starts when hard drives are separated from computers and networks. Normally there is a huge gap between getting separated from network and getting erased. We can fill the gap with degaussing, it means quickly degaussing the hard and then storing it in the warehouse until it gets shredded.