Proper hard drive destruction is vital for preventing data theft. The drives are sturdier than many people believe, so people who try to do it themselves often leave their data in place for thieves. The solution is to use a series of steps to do the job properly. Here’s why it’s important.
1. Maintain the Chain of CustodyDestroying a hard drive properly requires special tools, so most people use a specialized service to do it, often from the same companies that offer secure paper shredding services. In that case, it is vital to maintain the chain of custody by leaving records each time that the drive changes hands.
This produces two major benefits. Most importantly, it ensures that nobody can steal the drive without the theft being documented for easy tracking. At a secondary level, it makes it easy to find the drive if it gets lost during transportation because the documents will narrow down the list of possible locations. Taken together, the documentation will make sure that the drive reaches its destination so that it can be destroyed.
2. Use Shearing ForceThe next step is to begin the destruction process. The data will only be destroyed beyond recovery if the drive is damaged to the point where it cannot function and cannot be repaired. One of the best ways to do that is through shearing, which is similar to shredding papers for document destruction. It takes specialized machinery to cut through the metal and interior components, but the end result is a drive that has been sliced into tiny pieces.
3. Crush ThoroughlyCrushing is also an acceptable way to destroy a hard drive. This method is neater than shredding the drive, but just as effective.
A hard drive relies on drive platters, magnets, and other internal components to store and access data. Simply punching a hole through the right set of components will wreck the drive and make sure that thieves cannot recover the data by taking out the storage medium and putting it in a new drive. This requires both precision and a powerful drill, so it is only possible for specialists to use it, but it will get the job done.
4. Certify the DisposalIt is important both to trust workers and to verify their success. Once a drive has been destroyed, the disposal service should produce documentation to verify that fact. It not only provides another chance for the workers to notice problems, but it also provides the original owner with valuable records. They can use that certification to make a list of the drives that they have disposed of properly, which allows them to track down any that still need to be eliminated. Good security systems run on documentation, and there is no excuse for leaving any part of the process undocumented.