Data Shredding: How Does it Work and When Should You Use It?

Our secure data shredding service works by physically destroying your storage media, ensuring that there is zero chance of any usable data being recovered. Performed by our trained professionals to the highest standards, the process provides a certified, auditable method for securely disposing of your old disk drives, SSDs and magnetic tapes.

Why You Should Securely Destroy Old Storage Media

When disposing of old computing devices, it can be tempting to remove the storage media – whether hard disk drives, solid state drives or even old fashioned magnetic tape – and store it within your company. It’s easy to see the appeal of this as an option; it’s cheap, simple and means that the remaining equipment can be disposed of without having to worry about data protection.

However, storing your old data in bulk like this is a really bad idea. If the building where you store the old storage media is broken into, if unauthorised staff access it or even if the door is left unlocked for five minutes when it shouldn’t have been, you can no longer guarantee the security of your data.

Unless you have a very, very good reason (eg. a legal requirement) to archive old data – physical destruction of old media is always the most secure option.

Considering Storage Density: How Small Is Small Enough?

Storage density is the term used to describe the amount of information which can be stored on a given physical size of storage medium. For example, if two identically sized flash chips store 16GB and 32GB of data respectively, the 32GB model has twice the storage density. One of the practical implications of this fact is that 1cm x 1cm chunk of the 32GB chip will contain more data than the same sized piece of the 16GB version.

This is an issue for data shredding because it is still theoretically possible to retrieve data from the small fragments of a storage medium which remain after it has been shredded. For that reason, the higher the storage density of your media, the more finely it needs to be shredded for the destruction to be considered secure.

Put simply, the smaller the pieces that your old storage media are broken up into, the more secure the process is; the higher capacity the storage media, the more important it is that they are thoroughly destroyed.

The Problem With SSDs

SSDs, or solid state drives, are brilliant things. By offering read and write speeds far in excess of what is possible with a traditional hard disk drive, they can speed up computer systems and offer high capacity storage in portable devices like mobile phones and tablets.

However, there are downsides. SSD storage wears out much more quickly than traditional hard drives. To counteract this, the software built into the drive uses an algorithm called “wear levelling” to ensure that new data is always written to the least used part of the SSD, prolonging its life. Although that might sound like a positive thing – and in many ways it is – it makes SSDs much more difficult to encrypt and almost impossible to securely wipe.

All of which means that, for SSDs, the only truly secure option for data disposal is physical destruction of the drive. For many portable devices, such as mobile phones, that effectively means physical destruction of the whole device is the only secure method of disposal.

Traceability and Auditing

When you need to be able to verify secure data destruction to avoid potentially enormous fines, simply paying someone to destroy your old media is not enough, particularly if you process personal data under the General Data Protection Regulation. Our service offers not only the best value, but also provides you with a certificate of destruction after each disposal and works to ISO accredited standards for your peace of mind.

Whatever industry you work in, whatever data or devices you need to dispose of, our highly trained staff are ready to offer specialist advice and guide you through every step of the process. Contact us today.