Data Removal: How To Ensure Your Data Is Safely Disposed

Data RemovalA number of customers have approached FLP when they need to retrieve data that has become inaccessible due to a system or hard drive crash, accidental deletion and a wide number of other reasons. However where can these individuals go if they decide they want to completely and utterly remove their data or want everything contained on their hard drives to be erased?

In order to protect the most sensitive of your electronic data it is essential to create a clear data disposal policy. Creating a clear data disposal policy is as important as establishing a reliable data retention plan. Ensuring that you use a proven and reliable data removal or erasure software or hardware tool is an excellent step towards ensuring that the most important data does not fall into the wrong hands.

A number of companies, businesses and organisations deploy a data retention plan. This plan establishes the duration of time that important information such as financial records and customer information is kept. Despite this, many of these entities do not have a clear process for removing data which is no longer required, or for disposing of the items of hardware which store this data.

How to dispose of data storage devices:

Merely deleting files from your hardware does not ensure that the data cannot be recovered at a later date. Even the most computer illiterate of individuals would be able to run a data recovery software on the drive and recover a number, if not all, of the files. Physically destroying the data storage device with tools, such as power drills and hammers, does reduce the chances of the data being recovered. However, it has been demonstrated that technical experts are able to gain data from drives which have being crushed, cracked and seemingly destroyed. The most reliable method of ensuring that your most sensitive data has been completely removed is to use a proven data removal or erasure software or a hardware device which is known as a “degausser”.

Data removal software:

There is a diverse selection of products available which “claim” to remove data from a hard drive. Erasure software can be found easily and cheaply, in some cases for free. However as with many things with data removal software you get what you pay for. Unfortunately, a number of this cheap software merely erases the file index. Due to the amount of varied software available it is advisable to seek professional help when attempting to remove sensitive data.

Data removal hardware:

Another method which can be employed to safely remove data is making use of a hardware device known as a degausser. A degausser makes use of extremely strong magnetic fields in order to demagnetize a drive. This process also destroys data as part of the process. Some companies make use of a deguasser internally through their IT department, whilst others opt to seek professional assistance.

Data removal services:

Instead of attempting to remove sensitive data themselves a large number of individuals choose to outsource this task to professionals. FLP provides professional and domestic clients with a comprehensive data erasure service. Seeking professional assistance enables you to rest assured that all of your sensitive data has been removed. In addition companies like FLP are able to notify you to any data which you have attempted to delete which is still retrievable.

When considering data removal it is important for companies to understand why it is so important. From the outset these procedures may seem slightly paranoid. However, it is important to consider the potential consequences:

  • Minimal control of access to internal data: make use of a removal software of professional quality when an employee leaves your company, prior to providing this computer or laptop to a new employee dramatically reduces the potential of sensitive data being accessed.
  • Sensitive data theft: leaving sensitive data on a device which has reached the end of its lifetime places your organisation at risk of potential data theft. Breaches of secure data have become public knowledge over the last few years and these instances have caused severe damage to these organisations.

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