One of the most crucial resources for organisations is data. It’s also crucial to maintain data confidentiality and privacy. Even so, you implement a number of security procedures to prevent breaches and data leaks. In addition, you would take the proper steps while wiping data. Using an improper data erasure method could result in a data breach, which would cost you a lot of money and damage your reputation.
This blog offers information on the many data erasure techniques for erasing (or wiping) flash storage devices like SSDs, USB pen drives, memory cards, and smartphone internal storage as well as magnetic storage devices like HDDs and tapes.
Data Erasure Techniques and Methods
The three main techniques for erasing data are erasure, degaussing, and destruction. Each of these data sanitization techniques has advantages and disadvantages.
Method 1: Erasure of data
Select data erasure if you wish to remove digital data without impacting or harming the data storage device. There are many tools available for erasing data, including BitRaser Drive Eraser.
Data erasure can be achieved, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), via overwriting, block erasure, and cryptographic erasing techniques.
Overwriting: Data erasure software is used to overwrite outdated or data that needs to be discarded with non-sensitive data (0s and 1s).
Block Erase: Erases or purges a block stored in flash memory. After that, the blocks that were purged might be utilised with Overwriting.
Cryptographic Erase: Self-encrypting drives (SEDs), which have built-in data encryption capabilities, are compatible with this data erasing approach. The key needed to decrypt the data on SEDs can be destroyed by an efficient data erasure technique, rendering the data unrecoverable.
The Benefits of Data Erasure
- After deleting the data, the gadget can be used again.
- There is no need to ship media, eliminating the possibility of a data compromise while in transit.
Data erasure’s negative aspects
- Only effective with functional storage devices
- Decreases the flash memory-based gadgets’ lifespan
Method 2. Degaussing
When wiping data from magnetic storage devices, this technique is utilised. The gadget is subjected to a strong magnetic field during degaussing, which skews the data.
The benefits of degaussing
- In some circumstances, the storage device might still be beneficial.
- Even if the gadget is not in working order, destroys the data.
- Non-magnetic gadgets cannot be used with this technique.
- Existing degaussers may be unable to degauss more recent and sophisticated magnetic devices because of excessive coercivity.
Device Physical Destruction
A data storage device can be physically damaged to the point that it cannot be repaired. Some techniques for destroying storage devices include crushing, grinding, disintegration, incineration, shredding, etc.
Physical Destruction’s Benefit
- It is the most efficient method of data erasure.
Physical Destruction Drawbacks
- It is necessary to transport the storage device, which puts it at danger of data theft while in transit.
- It makes the device useless.
Which data erasure technique is the best?
The functionality of the storage device to be sanitised, the type of storage device (magnetic or non-magnetic), the sensitivity of the data, and other considerations must all be taken into account when selecting a data sanitization method.
You can select a degaussing, physical destruction, or data erasure software method based on these considerations.
When your data is extremely sensitive and you don’t want to transmit your device to a service provider, for example, you can use data erasure software.
Similar to this, if the gadget isn’t functional, you’d need to destroy it physically or degauss it in order to remove the data.
Below is a comparison of the three data erasure techniques. This will aid you in selecting an appropriate data erasure technique:
|Data Erasure||Degaussing||Physical Destruction|
|doesn’t harm the storage device||The storage device could be harmed.||Destroy the gadget entirely|
|There is no need to send the item, and data breach prevention during transit||It is necessary to send the storage device, putting it at risk for a data breach.||The device must be sent out putting it at risk for a data breach.|
|Only effective with functional storage devices||Non-operational storage devices have the potential to lose data.||It doesn’t matter how the storage device is maintained.|
|Eco-friendly data-erasing technique||The gadget couldn’t be used again||The destroyed item contributes to e-waste.|
The destruction approach is the most efficient way to erase data, but it requires shipping your device, increasing the chance of a data breach. As a result, it is advised to delete the data using data erasure software like BitRaser Drive Eraser. It implements the International Standards of Data Erasure and is a do-it-yourself tool. Additionally, the software creates a certificate of erasure, which ensures that data is lost forever and cannot be recovered.