Data destruction is an important part of maintaining good cybersecurity. This article discusses the role of data destruction in an effective cybersecurity management system, the risks it can mitigate, and the methods used to destroy commercial data around the world. To begin, it is necessary to define what is meant by data destruction. 

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What Exactly Is Data Destruction? 

Data destruction is the process of destroying data in such a way that it cannot be reused or recovered in any way. When it comes to data stored on paper, shredding effectively destroys it. However, fragments might be salvageable. This becomes nearly impossible after shredding it several times. The same is true for digital data. It should not be able to be pieced together even in laboratory conditions in order to be fully destroyed, especially when it comes to customers personal data.  

The fact that data can be held in so many different forms presents a challenge for data destruction specialists in the digital age. It could be on a computer’s hard drive or on portable media such as CD-ROMs, DVDs, or USB flash drives. Unless completely destroyed, all data stored on physical media can be viewed at least once more. Simply deleting a file is no longer sufficient for modern data destruction. Because ‘wiped’ media may contain vital information, selling it for reuse is not an option in business. In an age where there is a huge problem with e-Waste, it is important to recycle computers or reuse where the IT still has value to others. Refurbished laptops are being resold after their life in large corporate organizations. It’s imperative when your company sells its redundant IT that the data has been fully wiped clean. Always ask for a data destruction certificate.

Data Destruction's Importance in Cybersecurity 

Photo by Vincent Botta via Unsplash 

How Is Effective Data Destruction Performed? 

As previously stated, deleting files and other forms of data does not imply that they have been destroyed. Various methods must be used to truly destroy data so that it cannot be recovered. One of the most common methods is to physically destroy the data storage media. This could include shredding CD-ROMs or smashing up hard drives so that they no longer function and, perhaps more importantly, cannot be repaired. 

Software techniques, in addition to physical destruction of data storage media, can be used. However, these will only work if the storage device is operational. Typically, an organization will use specialized software that overwrites old data with new data. As long as the new data is useless to anyone, the original information will be rendered useless even if the device falls into the wrong hands. 

Finally, degaussing can be used to destroy data stored on magnetic media, such as disks. This method employs a degausser to magnetize the device storing data, rendering it unreadable in the future. This method has the advantage of being able to work on old storage systems that may no longer function properly. 

What Are the Most Important Cybersecurity Risks Addressed by Professional Data Destruction? 

Most organizations are vulnerable to data breaches as a result of improperly destroyed data, as private information about clients may fall into the public domain or fall into the hands of cybercriminals. Private data of a company’s staff members or their customers is of primary concern. Many hackers steal data in order to extort money rather than use it. This is an issue that every company should be aware of. If data that should have been destroyed is lost, it could have serious security consequences if it falls into the wrong hands. Make sure you get a data destruction certificate when you employ the services of a professional company.  

In Summary  

Data erasure is only one aspect of cybersecurity. Having said that, it is an important consideration that should never be overlooked. Simple measures, such as deleting files, are insufficient on their own, so professional measures should be implemented to destroy unwanted data before it falls into the hands of the wrong people. 

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Author

This article was written by Milica Vojnic of Wisetek. Milica frequently advises businesses on the importance data destruction, and ITAD services policies in order to keep their company secure and compliant. 

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