What is Toxic Data?

Sometimes end of life really isn’t. Those old hard drives that you thought were destroyed may come back to haunt you. That’s because many professionals are unaware of how toxic to your company data can become when old hard drives are simply shredded or overwritten before disposal.

The National Association for Information Destruction (NAID) study, released March 2017, found that 40 percent of used electronic devices sold contained personal identifiable information.

Usernames, passwords, credit card data, tax details and contact information were found on used hard drives, mobile phones and tablets analyzed in the study. The recovery process used required no advanced forensic training. Scary fact: 2mm² hard drive fragment can contain the equivalent of 640 reams of paper data records.

This means data can be toxic, even when you think it has been destroyed.

What happens to that old data?

Many organizations and third-party service providers use shredding, overwriting, and physical destruction techniques like drilling holes to destroy old hard drives. While appearing destructive, shredding and physical destruction actually leaves hundreds of thousands of records intact. Overwriting can only be performed on fully-functioning hard drives and is not an NSA or DoD approved form of sanitization.

In virtually every case, shredding, overwriting and physical destruction leaves data forensically recoverable. As noted above, a 2mm² hard drive fragment can contain hundreds of thousands of records. (For reference, 2mm² is the diameter of a pencil lead.)

Erase the Past to Secure the Future

Degaussing magnetically destroys data on hard drives making the data forensically unrecoverable. In fact, degaussing is the only in-house method of data destruction approved by the NSA (National Security Agency) for disposal of TOP SECRET data. Designed to be used in data centers or office environments, degaussers are safe, clean, quiet and takes only seconds to permanently destroy sensitive data.

After degaussing, your drives are data free and safe for shredding, disposal or recycling.

Visit GarnerProducts.com to see our complete line of degaussers and destroyers with IRONCLAD Erasure Verification.