How to Dispose of Your Hard Drive?
Technology is crucial for businesses to achieve profitability and more broadly because it is important for automation, which in recent years has become an integral part of day-to-day business operations to deliver a high quality of service with increased productivity, economic competitiveness, and global trade.
A key technological component of any and every business is a computer system that enables the rapid execution of any task with an added advantage of delivering consistent highest levels of accuracy, reliability, and efficiency.
But there is a component that often gets ignored despite being central to every system automation, and that is storage device inherently hard drives.
The traditional storage device employed for data storage is and has been the hard disk drive (HDD). Today, however, with recent breakthroughs in 3D NAND transistors, a much faster and more capable data storage device, called SSD, is increasingly appreciated both by data-critical businesses and professionals.
Nevertheless, in spite of all these advancements, there is one factor that remains critical for everyone, and that is the safe destruction of the hard drive and every bit of data stored on it.
If you, therefore, have a hard drive that is full of data, it is good to start considering several options that you might use when you want to destroy it. You don’t want people to access sensitive information that belongs to you, as this will breach your privacy.
The Importance of Hard Drive Disposal
There are a number of reasons why it may be vital for you or your business to dispose of your hard drives. The following highlights some of the most important ones
1. Financial Information:
One of the most sensitive and business-critical data any malicious agent can retrieve from your inappropriately discarded hard drive(s) includes credit card information, bank details, financial data related to your business operations, and most importantly – your customers’ payment details. Under no circumstances would you want a third party to have access to these details, as this could jeopardize not only your business but also trust, which is not something easy to build.
2. Legal plans:
Legal data such as court documents, arrest records, tickets, charges, and payment requirements can be easily hacked and retrieved using hard drive skimming methods. The stakes are even higher for law firms, as any leak will not only violate a series of privileges protected by the constitution but may also lead to countersuits and permanently damage the firm’s image.
3. Personal data:
Every personal computer is a goldmine of data, comprising photographs, videos, and e-mails. You should, therefore, think twice before throwing away your hard drive as just another outdated gizmo. The data on PC hard drives are actually the easiest to recover because most often people don’t bother to destroy the data before getting rid of them, and even if they have used some kind of application for this purpose, it is still easy for anyone to extract the data from these drives.
All these reasons beg the question: how to dispose of your hard drive properly and securely.
How to Dispose of Your Hard Drive
The hard drive can be destroyed in a number of ways. What you need to do is to ensure that you have finished using the data, which is usually stored on the magnetic platter inside the hard drive. The method of destruction you choose usually depends on the kind of information you have stored in the hard drive as well as who you are. Read one to understand the different methods of destroying your hard drive.
Do you know what degaussing involves? It involves subjecting the hard drive to a high energy magnetic field to get rid of the minute particles of bits of data. The data in your hard drive is usually stored magnetically. Note that objects that are usually magnetized tend to remain that way until you degauss it. It transforms these bits of data into random and unreadable configurations. This method is considered very secure because you are assured that all the bits of data stored in the drive have been rendered unreadable. If you, therefore, want to erase all your videos, audio, and data signals, degaussing will work for you.
Shredding means cutting something into small pieces. For hard disk destruction, you will find that there are different companies that offer the shredding service. Most of these companies will ask you to send your drives to them for them to do the shredding for you. Others may bring the shredder to your place. If you are not sure about the reliability of the shredding company, it is good to take care. You need to be sure of their transport arrangements and security because once you send your drive to them, your personal data is no longer in your control. If you don’t plan to resell the hard drives and you need a guarantee that your data is beyond retrieval, use the shredding method.
Melting is one of the last options you should consider when it comes to destroying your hard drive. There is, however, no particular equipment built for the purpose of melting hard drives. What usually happens is that the hard drive is taken to a metal recycling center and dumped into molten steel. This means that all the data in the hard drive gets destroyed. If you have extremely sensitive information and you want to ensure that there is no proof of the information, consider melting that hard drive.
Disintegrators are common equipment used in the destruction of data. Hard drive disintegrators use the knife milling technology to cut the hard drive into pieces until they are tiny enough to fall through the disintegrators screen. This method is much slower, as compared to shredding hard drive. However, this method produces finer residue and is a lot safer. Remember that even a small fragment of a hard drive can contain up to a thousand pieces of harmful data that may get into the wrong hands.
Wipe It and Recycle.
If you prefer to recycle your hard drive as opposed to using the above professional methods, it is necessary to take the necessary measure. The first step involves completely wiping it before doing the recycling. By wiping the hard drive completely, you will be able to erase some pieces of data in your hard drive. If, for some reason, your hard drive contains music, personal audios, and videos, it is advisable to back up this information on a different hard drive before you proceed with the wiping and recycling. Kindly note that erasing doesn’t guarantee you that all the information will be erased. Some of that information may still remain in the hard drive. You, therefore, need to be careful.
Break the Hard Drive Physically
The other option that is left is the use of a sledgehammer or other physical object to destroy the hard drive. Physically breaking the hard drive actually does the job. It can damage the drive, and this includes the data stored in the drive. However, note that destroying the hard drive physically makes the data unusable. However, this doesn’t mean that the data has been removed completely. Apart from using the sledgehammer, you could drill holes through the hard drive or even physically burn it. These DIY methods give you a rough idea of what you can do to destroy the drive, but they can be potentially dangerous.
If you have a hard drive that you want to destroy, it is good to consider your options. Look at what will work for you and will make you feel safe about your personal data.
Hire Professional Hard Drive Disposal Service
Relying on professionals who have years of experience and knowledge necessary for proper and secure disposal of hard drives will not only prove to be a cost-effective solution to any in-house data disposal department but will also provide you with peace of mind; giving you the freedom to focus and excel on things off your expertise.