Secure Data Destruction involves using specialized software or hardware techniques to irreversibly erase sensitive data from storage devices, making it impossible to recover. This can include overwriting data multiple times, degaussing magnetic storage, or physically destroying the medium. The process is usually certified to meet industry standards for data destruction, such as NIST guidelines or DoD standards, to ensure that data is thoroughly removed.
A financial institution uses secure data destruction services to permanently erase customer data from decommissioning servers, following a rigorous seven-pass overwrite process.
A healthcare provider securely destroys old hard drives containing patient information using a certified degausser, followed by physical destruction.
Risks of Not Doing It:
Failure to securely destroy data exposes an organization to various risks, including unauthorized data recovery and potential breaches. This can lead to legal consequences, especially if the data involves sensitive customer or patient information regulated by laws like GDPR or HIPAA. Companies also risk intellectual property theft if proprietary data is recovered. Improper data destruction can result in significant financial losses and reputational damage.