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Your Questions about Data Destruction, Answered

In today’s digital world, where identity theft and fraud are the norm, destroying old devices containing sensitive information is a must. To get rid of your data securely, you need a data destruction solution. We’re sharing the following data destruction questions and answers to help point you in the right direction:

Q: Can I Erase My Files from My Hard Drive?

A: You can erase or reformat an old hard drive or tape, but it doesn’t guarantee your data won’t be stolen and misused. With a little know-how, thieves can still extract sensitive information from those hard drives. Only physical destruction of the drive renders it completely inoperable so data can’t be extracted. A hard drive shredding service uses specialized shredders that grind hard drives into tiny particles, making it impossible to access any of the data.

Q: Why Can’t I Just Recycle or Sell My Media?

A: Recycling or selling hard drives, backup tapes and digital devices instead of destroying them is extremely risky. A recent study by the found that 40 percent of used electronic devices sold on the secondhand market contained personally identifiable information (PII). So, making a few bucks by selling your hard drives isn’t worth the cost of identity theft.

Q: Is Data Destruction the Law?

A: Yes, several well-known federal regulations mandate privacy protection standards for the disposal of financial, medical and consumer information, including:

  • The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
  • The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA)
  • The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA)

Always check with your legal counsel to make sure your company is complying with state and federal privacy laws.

Q: How Does a Media Destruction Service Work?

A: A professional media destruction service must combine several steps to ensure the data on retired storage media is completely irretrievable. First, the media is degaussed and eradicated, erasing all data from the device. Second, a delamination process is used to separate the data-bearing material from the disc. Finally, the media is ground into small particles. Together, these processes eliminate the chance of your data becoming compromised.

Keep in mind that not all shredding and destruction providers integrate degaussing, delamination and grinding into their destruction process, so be sure to choose a vendor that incorporates these steps.

Q: Besides Hard Drives, What Else Should I Destroy?

A: Besides expired and unwanted hard drives, you should destroy any digital device storing sensitive and confidential data. A trusted media destruction will make sure data stored on the following devices is destroyed:

  • Hard drives
  • LTO and DLT tapes
  • CDs
  • VCR and cassette tapes
  • Portable USB drives

Q: What happens to the e-waste?

A: When hard drives are destroyed, some of the leftover electronic waste is recoverable and recyclable. Electronic waste should be recycled to the fullest extent possible to protect our landfills and our environment. Be sure to use a hard drive shredding provider who partners with an authorized recycling firm.

Records Management Center offers information management and data protection services for businesses throughout Augusta, Evans, Thomson, and Martinez, GA, plus Aiken, SC and the Central Savannah River Area. For more information, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.