The popularity of data destruction has grown exponentially in recent years. This is because, in today's digital age, businesses collect and store more data than they ever have before. With this amount of data comes a huge security responsibility. Any mishandling of customers' or employees' sensitive data could be catastrophic for a business.
The U.S. suffers from the most data breaches worldwide. In 2022 alone, there were 1,802 cases of data compromises, and 422 million affected individuals. These data breaches and leaks can not only have a huge impact on how a business operates, but also on how a business is viewed by its potential customers and competitors.
There are different kinds of effective data destruction methods that can help to protect sensitive data. These methods ensure that data does not end up in the wrong hands. Three of the main methods are shredding, degaussing, and disintegrating.
In this article, we will take a look at all three of these data destruction methods, their pros and cons, and also what industries they are suitable for.
What is Data Shredding?
The process of shredding is one that most of us are familiar with. Data shredding is the process of destroying a data hard drive through the use of a mechanical shredder.
This is a very popular form of data destruction as it is a method of permanent file destruction. Shredding data drives using heavy-duty shredders ensures that the drives are rendered irreparable, and are subsequently erased with no chance of recovery.
Businesses typically use this method when data is becoming outdated, or technology is being upgraded. This is so that the sensitive data that is stored does not end up in the wrong hands or become a victim of a catastrophic data leak.
Pros of Data Shredding
Data shredding has a huge amount of benefits that can be invaluable to businesses. These pros are:
Data is Fully Unrecoverable - If done and disposed of correctly, the data should be completely unrecoverable. This will mean that there will be zero risk of the data falling into the wrong hands, or being susceptible to any data breaches.
Compliance with Privacy Laws - Shredding your old sensitive data also ensures that you are fully compliant with U.S. privacy laws. This is important as not complying with data privacy laws will result in legal troubles such as fines or imprisonment.
Data Cannot End Up in the Wrong Hands - This method of data destruction guarantees the highest level of safety and security of data. It also ensures that the data does not end up with the wrong people or anyone to whom the data subjects did not consent to.
Saves Data Storage Space - Many organizations have a limited amount of data storage. Therefore, shredding and getting rid of data regularly will allow you to have data storage space.
Cons of Data Shredding
While there are a huge amount of advantages when it comes to data shredding, there are also a number of disadvantages to be aware of. These disadvantages are:
Time Consumption - Although data shredding is a manual process, it can be very time-consuming. If there is a large quantity of hard drives that need to be destroyed, then it could end up taking up a fair amount of time. Each moment spent shredding data takes away from other very important tasks.
Costs - Data shredding can end up being a very expensive process, especially if you do not invest in the correct equipment. If not maintained properly, shredders can have problems such as jamming, dull blades, debris clogged, overheating, and more. These problems will all require maintenance, which adds up over time.
No Proof of Destruction - Organizations that operate in regulated industries must provide proof of their document destruction. In-house shredding leaves no audit trail, which means that you will not receive a certificate of destruction that you can use as proof of destruction.
What is Data Degaussing?
Data degaussing is a method of permanently erasing data from hard drives by randomly changing the alignment of magnetic domains. This method leaves the hard drive unreadable so that the data cannot end up in the wrong hands, or be victim of a serious data leak or data breach.
Degaussing counteracts the hard drive's magnetic field by delivering a powerful magnetic pulse that instantly destroys all magnetic domains, and therefore data, on the hard drive disks.
Degaussing is another extremely popular form of data destruction that is used by many organizations. It works on a variety of different storage mediums such as HDD, SSD, memory cards, hard drives, and so much more. The primary goal of data degaussing is to safeguard businesses and individuals from data leaks.
Pros of Data Degaussing
As a data destruction method, degaussing has a huge amount of benefits that make it so popular. The pros of data degaussing are:
Effective Data Destruction - Degaussing is a very effective method of data destruction that leaves data completely unreadable and irreparable. This is incredibly important so that the drives do not end up in the wrong hands.
Disposes of Data Quickly - The method of degaussing is incredibly efficient and can wipe and destroy all the data on a hard drive within seconds. This means that it is far more time-efficient than other data destruction methods.
Cost Effective - Degaussing is the cleanest, most efficient, and most cost-effective form of data destruction on the market. It is a go-to for many businesses when thinking about the destruction of their data.
Adhere to Data Privacy Laws - Degaussing is very important for organizations as it helps them to adhere to data storage and data privacy laws. Abiding by these laws ensures that organizations do not receive any penalties such as fines or imprisonment.
Cons of Data Degaussing
While there are a lot of advantages to data degaussing, there are some negatives that must be taken into account. These disadvantages are:
Low Efficacy of Data Destruction - If you do not purchase a high-quality degausser, then the efficacy of the data destruction can be very low. This can be avoided by purchasing a high-quality piece of degaussing equipment.
Limited Scalability - Most degaussers are designed to only sanitize a single hard drive. Therefore if your business needs to sanitize multiple hard drives at a time then it can be very ineffective. However, a high-quality degausser will have the ability to work on more than one drive at a time.
Generates E-Waste - As degaussers make disks and other media storage devices useless, they can generate a lot of e-waste. As a result, data degaussing is only effective for “end of life” media.
What is a Data Disintegrator?
Data disintegrators use both rotor and bed knives to tear up hard drives and media data storage in order to break them into tiny pieces. This kind of data destruction ensures that the data cannot be repaired.
Disintegrators are perfect for offices and businesses that have outgrown shredders and degaussers. These data disintegrators offer a much greater volume of data destruction, which is perfect for businesses that store a huge amount of data.
Pros of Data Disintegrators
There are so many different benefits of data disintegrators that make them extremely popular among a huge number of businesses. These benefits are:
Effective Data Destruction - As with all of the data destruction machines, disintegrators are extremely effective at making the drives fully irreparable. This once again stops the data from ending up in the wrong hands.
Helps Compliance with Regulations - The disintegrator's ability to effectively destroy data helps businesses comply with data privacy regulations. This is incredibly important as failure to adhere to regulations can have legal implications.
Easy to Use - Most of these high-quality machines have been specially designed to be very easy and straightforward to use. Employees do not have to undergo stringent training in order to use the equipment.
Impressive Versatility - These machines can be used to crush a number of different types of hard drives and data stores. Whether your data is stored on hard drives, SSDs, or HDDs, these disintegrators are highly effective.
Cons of Data Disintegrators
As with all of the other data destruction methods, there are also a number of negatives that must be considered. The cons of data disintegrators are:
Large Initial Investment - The upfront cost of these high-tech machines can be very expensive. It can be difficult for smaller businesses and organizations to justify spending money on these devices. However, they are incredibly effective and cost-efficient over time.
Disks Cannot be Reused - This type of data destruction completely destroys hard drives. This means that they will be rendered completely useless at the end of the process.
E-Waste - As with degaussers, the drives that go through the disintegrating process will not be able to be used again. It is best to use disintegrators with drives that are already at the end of their lives to avoid generating unnecessary waste.
Completely Irreparable - Once data has been destroyed using this process, there is no way of getting any of that data back. You will no longer be able to use any of this data for decision-making or performance-based projects.
Which is Best for My Business?
All three of these data destruction methods are extremely effective and provide businesses with a huge number of benefits. However, the answer as to which is best for your business very much depends on how your business operates.
If you are a small to medium-sized business that does not store data, and therefore needs to destroy a huge amount of data, then shredders are perfect for you. In comparison to degaussers and disintegrators, shredders are a much cheaper data destruction method.
However, shredders can be a very time-consuming method of data destruction, which is inefficient for larger organizations and businesses that store vast amounts of data. These kinds of organizations would benefit far more from a more heavy-duty data destruction method such as a disintegrator or a high-quality degausser.
Make sure that what you decide to buy fits your specific business needs. However, whichever one of these data destruction methods you choose, you will no doubt find them extremely effective.
Data Destruction at Whitaker Brothers
As one of the worldwide leaders in data destruction equipment, all of us here at Whitaker Brothers know just how important data destruction is. That is why we have a huge variety of the highest-quality Degaussers, Shredders, and Disintegrators.