Hard Drive Shredding vs Degaussing



On Site Hard Drive Shredding Versus On Site Degaussing as a Data Sensitisation Tool.

By Mark Browne, Cyclone Shredding – December, 2013

Both hard drive shredding and degaussing are viewed as effective methods of data sanitisation where computer hard drives and media tapes are concerned. Both solutions will meet with outside auditor requirements for disposing of digitally stored information.  The choice of approach is entirely an internal decision based upon data security preferences, economics and the available options.

 In this article we will compare the two processes.

Shredding = FROM THIS




On Site Hard Drive Shredding: The Details.

On site shredding occurs in a mobile shredding truck parked outside your facility.  It is fast becoming the default preference for reasons of transparency. For security reasons it is recommended that an employee supervises this process and witnesses the destruction activity.  Mobile hard drive shredders can shred several hundred tapes/drives per hour. Hard drives are fed directly into the shredder where they pass through shredding blades and are shredded into small shredded particles. There is no possibility that information can be retrieved from a shredded computer hard drive or tape. The shredded particles must be disposed of in an environmentally appropriate manner. On site hard drive shredding leaves no doubt that all data has been destroyed and includes the disposal of the shredded material.  The primary reason on site shredding is not commonly used is economic but the cost of onsite hard drive shredding has come down significantly in recent years and is now increasingly common.  


               Degaussing: From This                                       To This.

                                                     No Noticeable Difference.

Degaussing: What it does and how it works;

Degaussing machines are small magnetic devises. The process of degaussing a drive/tape takes roughly 1-2 minutes. Insist that the degaussing process is performed within your facility and thus your control.  It is hugely important that degaussed hard drives are tagged as “processed” because a degaussed hard drive looks exactly the same as a non degaussed hard drive.  There is no simple or inexpensive way to test the efficacy of the degaussing process other than regularly testing. It is generally accepted that degaussing is effective provided that each drive/tape is processed properly and tested afterward. The main concern is that a tape could slip through without being processed which is the primary reason why degaussing is falling out of favor.

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