We all know the importance of data security. But, if you’re looking to get rid of old IT assets, you may be asking yourself “why should I pay so much attention to the destruction of the data on these devices .” The truth is, if your organization doesn’t have secure data destruction and secure data disposal policies in place, you could be leaving yourself open to Cyber attacks, stiff fines and penalties, identity theft or blackmail and a loss of consumer trust and damage to your brand.
If your organization doesn’t have secure data destruction and secure data disposal policies in place, you could be leaving yourself open to Cyber attacks, stiff fines and penalties, identity theft or blackmail and a loss of consumer trust and damage to your brand. Besides, outdated access control systems can put your data at risk.
Secure Data Destruction & Data Sanitization
Secure data destruction involves software-based overwriting and removes all data from a device, leaving it unrecoverable. There are two basic ways this can be accomplished. You can either destroy the device and recycle the materials (also referred to as shredding), or erase the data from a device while leaving the device intact (also referred to as Data Sanitization).
Shredding equipment is the perfect solution for assets that are well beyond their useful life and have no potential for re-use. This includes equipment that is damaged or broken, non-repairable, past warranty, defective, or obsolete. When you have electronics shredded by OceanTech, you will receive a Certificate of Destruction for each item shredded, along with detailed reports that will pass any third-party audit protecting you from millions of dollars in liabilities that come with current data protection laws.
Data Sanitization or “erasing” (also referred to as clearing or purging) involves the secure and permanent erasure of sensitive data and media to guarantee that no residual data can be recovered. It’s different because the data is destroyed, but the device isn’t. Unlike other data destruction methods, this method wipes all information leaving the device operable and usable. The overwriting software then randomly tests the device to make sure not a byte of old data is left, and produces a report that shows every device and its pass/fail status.
Erasing leaves the equipment eligible for refurbishment, resale, and reuse and produces a paper trail since each device is tracked and tested separately. Having the necessary paperwork will assist with any data destruction audits. It can also be a major advantage in the event of an investigation and to prove compliance with data privacy and environmental regulations. The more sensitive your data, the more you may want to consider fully audited disposal for your IT equipment. You may check this out to find out more information about how data breaches and leaks occur.
Is Data Sanitization Just as Good as Data Destruction?
Yes. One method isn’t always better than the other – and that’s why having an IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) partner is so important. An ITAD partner can help you decide which method is best based on the equipment you have and what data it’s storing.
Do Electronic Recycling Certifications Favor Data Destruction or Sanitization?
Responsible Recycling (R2) and e-Stewards are the two major programs that certify electronic recyclers as responsible according to their own standards. R2 stands for Responsible Recycling and is a standard specifically created for the electronics recycling industry by Sustainable Electronics Recycling International (SERI). e-Stewards® is a global team of individuals, institutions, businesses, non-profit organizations, and governmental agencies upholding a safe, ethical, and globally responsible standard for e-waste recycling and refurbishment.
The primary difference between R2 vs. e-Stewards is how either certification evaluates the implementation and administration of guidelines. For example, e-Stewards employs a set of standards for worker safety and health guidelines on vendors with certification. However, R2 standards allow such companies to create custom standards to fit their workplace that fall within the overarching compliance standards.
R2 and e-Stewards both support sanitization, alongside destruction, as an equally reliable and legitimate solution for end-of-life devices.
What Are the Environmental Credentials of Both Methods?
From a security standpoint, all data destruction methods are equally effective, however, from an environmental sustainability perspective, sanitization methods stand head and shoulders above other methods.
Data sanitization involves purposely, permanently deleting, or destroying data from a storage device to ensure it cannot be recovered. A device that can be sanitized, refurbished, and reused produces far less waste than one that’s destroyed. Data destruction involves recycling, recovery and reprocessing of waste materials for use in new products, and all of that work means more energy, emissions, and waste.
On the other hand, if you sanitize a hard drive, it will be ready to be back in service almost overnight. The longer you can keep a device in service, the less wasteful it is over the course of its lifespan.
What’s Best — Data Destruction or Data Sanitization?
Although data shredding is a reliable data destruction method, data sanitization is just as effective and is more sustainable for the planet and its resources. If using OceanTech, you will also be provided with reporting unmatched in detail that will pass any third-party audit. Overall, data destruction, erasing, and purging can all be considered equally valuable for removing data from end-of-life devices.
When you work with OceanTech, we’ll help you find the most suitable data destruction method for your needs. Find out more about our data destruction services and the many types of business equipment we can help you remove data from.