LACyber: Cyber Security Blog

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Data Destruction, What is the Big Deal?

by Sally Rozumalski

When most people hear the term data destruction, it can come off as a bad or scary thing. Often times it seems like a dangerous thing for precious data to be destroyed. But the reality is whether you are the owner of a large, medium or small business, you create new data every single day. There will come a day when you need to remove or replace older media, and you need to make sure that any data stored on that media is erased and unrecoverable.


No company wants their information to fall into the hands of a cybercriminal who could get their hands on previously discarded equipment. This is true of large corporations and small businesses alike. It’s vitally important that proprietary information stored on hard drives or in the memories of digital devices be erased and destroyed. Having data end up in the wrong hands, could have serious legal or competitive consequences.


When you destroy data, the goal is to make it totally unreadable regardless of the form of electronic media on which it was originally stored. The process of data destruction also includes ensuring that this data cannot be recovered and used for unauthorized purposes.


Essentially data destruction means it can no longer be read by an operating system or application. Merely deleting a file is insufficient. When you delete a file on an electronic device, you may not be able to see it any longer, but the information is still there on the device’s hard drive or memory chip. Data destruction entails overwriting the current data with random data until the current data can no longer be retrieved, or actually destroying the electronic medium.


Companies of varying sizes and success, keep data on file media for important business operations, all the data created needs to be securely protected. But at the end of its lifecycle, it also needs to be securely destroyed. While you may not want to share this information with anyone, more importantly there are legal obligations you must follow as well.


The level of importance in destroying all data would seem to be obvious. Yet according to some studies, as many as 10% of all secondhand hard drives sold over the Internet still hold personal information. Further, it’s not just individuals who fail to destroy all data. Often times businesses find themselves in precarious situations when they fail to adhere to state and national mandates.


There are several things to keep in mind when making considerations for how to securely destroy data after it’s finished being used:

  1. Time:  How often do you need to regularly get rid of old machinery? Is it a large amount at once? Depending on how often you need to get rid of data, regular pick-ups or annual purges by professional NAID certified professionals ensure you’re keeping your information from entering the wrong hands. Knowing how much time you want to spend on data destruction can influence the choice of method.


  1. Cost:  What does your budget look like for data disposal? Can you afford to have regular destruction performed? Or should you repurpose old materials to fit current needs to keep budget constraints in line?  


  1. Validation and certification: If you are destroying data because it’s a legal requirement or a regulatory issue within your industry, ensure that there is proof, evidence or completion certifications with the vendor you ultimately decide to choose to destroy your materials.


If you are planning to upgrade computers and mobile devices for your family, and especially your business, in the near future, we highly recommend that you consider a secure destruction plan to protect yourself and your information. If you are interested in learning more about how this process works, check out our website to get a better understanding of some of the services we offer as well as reach out to us with any questions you may have about our capabilities!


LACyber is a division of Lincoln Archives providing comprehensive Data Breach Defense Services. Lincoln Archives and LACyber are proud to be a part of Lincoln Family of Companies serving the Western New York Community since 1914.

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