Data Security Methods: Destruction, Degaussing, Crushing & Shredding

Defined by TechTarget as ‘the process of destroying data stored on tapes, hard disks and other forms of electronic media so that it is completely unreadable and cannot be accessed.’, data destruction is an umbrella term that includes both hard drive destruction and software destruction. This article will look at how to keep your data secure, and why you should choose professionals to handle your confidential data – instead of trying to handle it yourself.

Software Destruction – Data Destruction Programs (Overwriters)

Software destruction means destroying the virtual information stored on your technology; this might mean deleting and rewriting all the apps, contacts and stored information on your phone, laptop, or computer with random data. This process is similar to the traditional shredding of paper documents in offices but done virtually. Destroying software information in this manner results in confused jumbles of information that is now unreadable, much like a waste paper bin filled with shredded information.

Hand of businessman putting a document in paper shredder

Software Destruction – Degaussing

A degausser is a machine that erases data by reducing or eliminating information that is stored magnetically on your equipment. Degaussing is traditionally used on hard drives to scramble the soft, virtual information stored there, similar to using data deletion programs.

One set back of getting your information degaussed is that degaussing requires the destruction company to know the exact magnetic field of each piece of equipment that is being degaussed in order to do it properly. This makes degaussing more difficult and potentially less accurate than using a software overwriter.

red magnet isolated on a grey background

Hardware Destruction – Shredding

After your technology has been through scrambling, whether that is through a degausser or a professional data deletion program, your technology will be tested. If the technology fails the test, the offending part will be sent to either a shredder or a crusher. Hard drive shredders are divided by speed and volume of drives that they can process per hour, but also by the final particle size that they reduce your hard drive to. Shredders are a sure way to make sure that any hard drives or other items which still potentially contain private information are thoroughly destroyed.

Hard drive crusher shredder used for sensitive data destruction.

Hardware Destruction – Crushing

Crushers are less popular than shredders in data security companies because they take longer than a shredder to destroy the same amount of information. Crushers operate using a steel punch which damages the information irreparably, usually causing a hole in the hard drive. One benefit of using a crusher instead of a shredder is that the crusher is a lot smaller than a shredder, and it is also a quieter process.

Dismantled computer parts for electronic recycling

Use Our Professionals

You’ve probably heard people talking about how information deleted from your computer never truly disappears. Well, it’s true! Vestiges of the information you think you have deleted can still be retrieved by computer experts; therefore, if you want to ensure that your information stays safe when you decide to upgrade the office PCs, you need to talk to a professional about the best way forward.

For deleting information that isn’t too sensitive, using just one of these methods is enough. However, if it’s vital to your business or the security of your clients that the information stored on your computers is protected from prying eyes, then a two-pronged approach is recommended; use a software data destroyer followed by hardware destruction techniques like shredding or crushing to ensure maximum data destruction.

Hard disk failure. Computer hard disk on fire, burning in flames. Computer crash.

ICT Reverse

ICT Reverse does more than just destroy your data; we organise collection services so that you don’t have to worry about transporting an office-full of technology to our warehouse. We will arrange a collection at a time that is convenient for you, at which point your technology will be recorded and audited so that we can know what method is best suited to your needs. Following the destruction process, we will provide you with the correct certification, so you can prove that you are complicit with the latest data safety regulations.

Don’t just delete your files and cross your fingers; use software and hard drive destruction technology with ICT Reverse.

Read more about our secure data destruction service.