19 Aug 2020

Data Erasure: Taking Care of Your Data

What is data erasure?

An important factor to consider when disposing of any IT equipment is how you are going to erase the data contained on those products. A lot of this data can be confidential or personal. It is, therefore, imperative that it is destroyed of properly and safely, especially if the goods are going to be reused by someone else.

According to Research Ontrack, only 42% of drives being sold online had not been completely purged of the sensitive company data that resides on them. These included drives from major universities, government software developers, and large travel companies [1]. The risk here is that the people going on to buy these refurbished products have access to sensitive information. If this falls into the wrong hands, it could have devastating consequences.

When disposing of your electronic devices, it is important to know the difference between data deletion and data erasure. Data deletion means that space is freed up on the hard drive space so that it can be used again, but the data is not overwritten [2]. Data erasure, however, is the process of removing data stored on a memory device permanently and irreversibly, making any data that was previously stored on the device unrecoverable [3]. Therefore, to ensure that businesses stay in line with GDPR guidelines, it is important that all sensitive data is completely erased and not just deleted.

How can I erase my data?

There are different options to choose from when it comes to deciding on the best way of erasing your data [4].

Physical destruction.

A misconception believed by many businesses to be the only way they can physically erase all data on drives. By purchasing large mechanical shredders, it is possible to destroy the device along with all the data on it. The only positive of this method is that the data is not recoverable. However, it is both wasteful and expensive. By ripping the device apart, you will need to buy a completely new one. Not only is the shredder used to destroy the item expensive, but having to replace all used goods with brand new ones is also costly. By not being able to reuse the product, you are contributing to the amount of E-waste going to landfill. On top of this, it can be a dangerous process which can cause health and safety problems.

Send to a specialist.

Certain organisations, such as us here at Zixtel, can safely and securely erase data from devices. The benefit of choosing to send your devices to a specialist is that the device is reusable after the data has been erased. This means there is less E-waste going to landfill, so you are also doing your bit for the environment. One thing you need to bear in mind with this option is which software is used to erase such data. It is important that the organisation you choose uses a trustworthy software, such as one which is CESG certified, like we do at Zixtel. This means that the data is completely erased securely for peace of mind.

What is CESG?

CESG is the standard that data erasing software must conform to. With parameters set by the National Cyber Security Centre, it advises organisations on how to protect their information and systems against any threats. Any software which is CESG certified provides a certificate of erasure for each device, showing that all data has been safely and securely erased. 

How Zixtel can help you erase your data safely

Here at Zixtel, we are specialists in data erasure and ensure security along with legal compliance by using Certus Erasure Software, which is CESG compliant. We use this to permanently delete data stored in PC’s and servers wiping them clean in line with national and global data protection regulations. This enables us to refurbish devices so that we can sell them on. Not only do we promise you peace of mind that your data is unrecoverable, but we are also contributing to a greener future by reducing the amount of E-waste being sent to landfill.

[1] https://tbtech.co/data-erasure-and-data-security-now-is-not-the-time-to-cut-corners/

[2], [3] https://www.itproportal.com/features/qanda-the-importance-of-data-erasure-for-enterprises-today/

[4] https://ico.org.uk/your-data-matters/online/deleting-your-data-from-computers-laptops-and-other-devices/

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