Secure Data Erasure

Overwriting and completely destroying all electronic data on a disk drive.

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Secure Data Erasure

Commonly referred to as data clearing or data wiping, is a method of overwriting and completely destroying all electronic data on a disk drive or other digital media by using zeros and ones to overwrite data onto all sectors of the device. By overwriting the data on the storage device, the data is rendered unrecoverable and achieves data sanitization.

Permanent erasure goes beyond basic file deletion. Unlike degaussing and physical destruction, which leave the storage media unusable, data erasure removes all information while keeping the disk operable.

There are key differences between data erasure and other overwriting methods, which can leave data intact and raise the risk of data breach, identity theft or failure to achieve regulatory compliance. Many data eradication programs also provide multiple overwrites so that they support recognized government and industry standards.

Erasing Data From Tape Media

Depending on the level of data sanitization required, data erasure on tape media can be used if you want to re-use your tapes within your own organization or for second-hand re-sale. Data erasure also ideal for leased equipment and charity donations. In this case, the tape media would undergo a front to back erasure process, wiping all existing data and preparing them for re-use.

In cases where data tapes are not required for reuse or resale, we can add an additional layer of security, by degaussing the tape media.  Degaussing involves re-aligning the magnetic polarities of the media to forensically wipe data. This prevents the tapes from being read or reused in the future.

In the case of cartridge reuse, erasing the tape is just the first step. Removing and replacing the bar code label, changing the VolSer number inside the CM chip, and writing a custom VolSer label to the tape maybe required.

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Advantages

One of the major advantages data erasure is the preserving of assets and the environment. Data erasure offers an alternative to physical destruction and degaussing for secure removal of all the disk data. Physical destruction and degaussing destroy the digital media, requiring disposal and contributing to electronic waste. Hard drives are nearly 100% recyclable and can be collected at no charge from a variety of hard drive recyclers after they have been sanitized.

Disadvantages

Unfortunately, complete data eradication doesn’t work on flash-based media, such as Solid-State Drives (SSD) and USB Flash Drives. Data erasure through overwriting only works on hard drives that are functioning and writing to all sectors. Bad sectors cannot usually be overwritten, but may contain recoverable information.