Wherever it is stored, the masses of data we hold carry a risk of theft. Formerly, data theft involved taking folders from filing cabinets. Now, massive volumes of data can be carried away in a tiny portable device. Proper data storage and maintenance protocols are part of security. An unauthorized user can access a system and steal or alter data if it is not secured or destroyed when no longer needed. Similarly, when a business upgrades its computer hardware, outdated storage media are liable for theft and should be disposed of appropriately.
What is Data Destruction?
Data destruction is the process of making digitised information unreadable and irretrievable. It also verifies that the data has been destroyed securely. A company offering data destruction services provides a range of options, from shredding services to basic deletion right through to physical destruction of media.
Data Destruction Methods:
Erasure removes digital pointers to data so that a system reading the medium cannot find it by normal means. Erasure is quick, but not totally secure. Formatting is similar to erasure in that it resets the medium and removes all pointers, but it is more time-consuming. The data is still present and a skilled user may be able to retrieve it.
Data is stored as a mass of bits. Overwriting modifies the bits to indicate new data has been put in place. This happens to some extent regularly in a computer system, whenever you delete unwanted files and download or create new data. It is more secure than erasing data but also more time-consuming. Furthermore, unless every bit has been overwritten, fragments of the original data may remain. With time and effort, it may be possible to piece together some of the original information.
Using a device which generates a powerful magnetic field, degaussing permanently scrambles data and then renders the medium inoperative. It is effective, but the medium has certain limitations. Data storage has shifted over time from magnetic discs to solid-state drives which hold data in billions of tiny switches which cannot be degaussed.
The most secure method involves physically destroying the medium. Whatever the storage medium, the data it contains is irretrievable if the medium no longer exists. The medium may be lost, but the sensitive information isprotected.
The Benefits of Data Destruction:
The consequences of a data breach can range from financial loss to legal penalties for violating privacy laws. Correct data management, including destruction and certification, protects you from such eventualities.
Following a data breach, most companiesgo out of business within months. Security and correct disposal of data is vital to the health and survival of your business.
A small business with a room full of old hardware carries dead weight and potential risk. Data should be encrypted and stored safely or properly destroyed. Like this, the business will function more efficiently.
All businesses carry client and customer databases. So, data security is essential for maintaining trust and running the business with integrity.