Securely Clear Your Data, Don't Just Delete and Reformat

When you need to discard a hard drive or memory card of any kind, it's important to eliminate the data contained on it securely. Old computers and servers contain one or more hard drives containing sensitive data. Deleting this data or reformatting the hard drive isn't secure, and the data can be recovered.

Why Deleting and Reformatting Isn't Enough

When you delete files or reformat a whole drive, the data isn't fully eliminated from the drive. Instead, a record of the files on the drive and the space available to use is reset. This makes the hard drive appear empty, and the space on the hard drive appears to be clear. However, the data is usually still there and can be recovered with data recovery software.

The data on hard drives can include client information, passwords, private images and videos, financial information, databases, web activity data and many other types of information. Some of this information could be recovered and used to access your accounts or clients' accounts; other information could be used to steal someone's identity, leak classified information or be used in a ransomware attack. For example, with a ransomware attack, a hacker ransoms the data for money, threatening to release the information if you don't pay a hefty sum of money.

How to Securely Eliminate Data

Securely eliminating the data so that the previous data isn't recoverable and the hard drive could be resold and reused requires more advanced data sanitation techniques. The techniques used depend on the type of hard drive; for example, if the hard drive is an SSD, a One-pass Overwrite approach is used. This resets all the data to a blank state, not just the data records. Other hard drives require a Multiple-pass overwrite approach. This is the most comprehensive approach for hard disk drives. Data sanitation methods aren't an option in some cases, such as if the hard drive simply doesn't function enough to use these techniques. In these cases, physical hard drive destruction is the only option available.

MGI's data sanitation methods meet or exceed all major and international regulatory and technical standards, including military-standard data elimination. MGI also offers secure and certified hard drive destruction services which include environmentally-responsible recycling of the hard drive metals and other materials. For the highest standard of data elimination, hard drive destruction and recycling, contact MGI today.