Any device used for personal or business use contains sensitive information. These information comes in the form of documents, financial spreadsheets, videos, and photos. Protecting these files from unauthorized access is crucial for protecting personal or business reputation, or a business' industrial advantage. This protection applies to devices currently in use or scheduled for disposal.
This is why data security should be considered when working with an e-recycling service. Here are the steps taken by services that give importance to the data security of their clients:
1. Backing up the stored data
Data is backed up before any type of destruction or deletion is done. Secured data deletion is often final and done to prevent any form of retrieval by the owner or a third party. Backing up data will ensure that there is a copy for the owner to retrieve if there is ever a need for retrieval. Backups can be stored in an external hard drive, a flash drive, or an online storage service.
2. Encryption of data to be destroyed
Although the stored data is to be destroyed anyway, making it unreadable will make any data retrieved unusable. A recycler can encrypt the data, which is a process of making data unreadable for individuals and programs without the key to decrypt it.
3. Wiping the stored data
Deleting files and reformatting a storage device is not enough to secure data. Programs can still retrieve files deleted in such a way. Wiping data is the only way to go to permanently delete and prevent the recovery of files in your old computers, mobile phones, and hard drives. This is done by overwriting the original data with useless information.
To illustrate its benefit, a single overwrite on stored information makes it 90 percent unrecoverable. If done seven times as the United States Department of Defense recommends, the valuable information becomes 10 times more unrecoverable.
Wiping data at the standards of the US Department of Defense might seem excessive. But, it is best to be cautious if unauthorized data recovery can lead to identity theft and fraudulent activities using your personal or business information.
A data wipe does not destroy the storage drives. It only prevents the recovery of data so old hard drives can still be used in the future.
Degaussing makes storage devices unreadable and unusable through physical destruction. This is done by exposing a hard drive to alternating magnetic fields. This results to overwriting the stored data with random patterns that ultimately prevent reading or writing files.
Degaussing is recommended if a computer or mobile phone is no longer working since it directly manipulates data through the hardware.
5. Physical destruction of the storage device
To complete data destruction, storage mediums are taken apart physically. This prevents them from being read in case programs that can recover wiped and degaussed storage devices are used. Physical destruction of hard drives, flash drives, and CDs is also a step of recycling these items to raw materials for new products.
6. Creation of a certificate of data destruction
Once the data destruction process is done, secured e-recycling services provide certificates on proper disposal of storage devices and on data destruction. It contains an itemized inventory of items destroyed with the processes done to prevent data recovery. These certificates serve as a guarantee to customers that their devices and stored information were disposed properly.
Data security is important in any business and proper data destruction is a part of it. Taking these steps is the only option if a business wants to keep its industry secrets a secret and prevent private information from being used for fraudulent activities.