Can I Erase My Hard Drive With Data Destruction?

Can I Be Sure My Information is No Longer on my Hard Drive with Data Destruction?

As a business, odds are you store a lot of information on your computer’s hard drive. This information can be very sensitive — it can include everything from the social security numbers of your employees to the credit card information of your customers. You may even have trade secrets stored on your computers.

Most companies who use computer systems have some sort of cybersecurity in places, such as firewalls and anti-virus software. However, many companies don’t realize that they may be exposing their potentially sensitive information when they decide to upgrade their computer equipment.

This is because simply going through a hard drive and deleting all of your files isn’t actually a permanent method for removing data.

Deleting Data Off Your Hard Drive

You would think that simply selecting a file and hitting “delete” would be enough to permanently remove data from your hard drive. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The way that file deletion works is that the files you save on your hard drive are marked by pointers. Pointers indicate where the data in your files begins and ends. When you delete a file, those pointers are removed and the sectors that contain the file’s data are marked as being available. While you won’t be able to retrieve those files anymore, the data within those files won’t actually be deleted until they are overwritten by new data. Anyone who obtains old hard drives can use a simple data recovery software to recover the data if it hasn’t been overwritten yet.

Ineffective Ways to Prevent Data Theft

Because of how hard drives work, data isn’t permanently deleted when you hit the delete button. However, you may stumble upon a number of other methods for deleting data that you might try.

Be aware that the following methods for deleting hard drive data are very ineffective as well:

  • Trying to damage the hard drive – Removing the hard drive from your computer system and hitting it with a hammer is probably not going to do much in terms of preventing data from being recovered from it. People who know what they’re doing can still retrieve the data unless the hard drive is completely destroyed, which you won’t be able to manage on your own (and even if you did, would take a significant amount of time and effort to do on your part).
  • Reformatting the hard drive – Even if you completely reformat your hard drives, the data that was on your hard drive before can still be retrieved using special types of software programs.
  • Using a magnet – Years ago, hard drives were extremely sensitive. Using a high-powered magnet could actually corrupt the files that were on the hard drive. However, technology has advanced to the point where a magnet is not going to have any effect on your hard drives.
  • Storing hard drives – You could always put your old hard drives in storage. However, this exposes you to physical theft. Even if your storage is only accessible to employees, a disgruntled employee or former employee may be able to steal your hard drives and sell them to your competition or to cybercriminals.

Destroying Your Hard Drives

The only effective way to permanently delete the data on your hard drive, AND KNOW IT IS GONE, is to completely destroy the hard drive itself. This can be done through the use of a professional data destruction company, such as AccuShred. We have the equipment needed to completely destroy your old hard drives, eliminating any chance of someone being able to retrieve old data. As Always, we provide a certificate of destruction. For a free, no-obligation estimate, be sure to contact us at AccuShred today.