Degaussing is the process of destroying data stored on hard drives and other magnetic media such as audio and backup tapes. If you want to protect your information, one option for complete removal of data is to degauss before you discard or recycle them. Along with physically destroying hard drives and tapes, degaussing is the only other guaranteed method of digital data destruction, which is why Shred-X offers degaussing hard drives and other magnetic media as a core service.
The Dangers of Not Degaussing
As technology continues to improve and change at a rapid pace, so too does the risk of data breaches. In 2014, the National Association for Information Destruction (NAID) released the findings of a commissioned study that analysed information left on recycled computers. The study found that an alarming 30% of recycled hard drives contained highly personal information.
During the study, NAID unearthed clients’ and account holders’ personal information. Contained in spreadsheets, the information included medical records and other confidential data. Consider the damage that kind of information could do if it ever fell into the wrong hands.
Reformatting vs. Degaussing Hard Drives
You might think reformatting or wiping your devices is a sufficient enough process But did you know that reformatting and/or wiping hard drives doesn’t erase the data completely? Various software packages and forensic investigators can recover formatted or wiped hard drives.
How Does Degaussing Work?
Degaussing hard drives and other devices renders the data unusable through magnetic waves by exposing each drive or tape to 2 Tesla (20,000 Gauss) of erasing force for a minimum of 45 Seconds. The machinery Shred-X use meets requirements of Australian Signals Directorate and is also approved for use by the NSA (USA Government) and CESG (UK Government). Degaussing can be used on a range of devices, including:
- Hard drives
- Floppy disks
- Audio reel-to-reel tapes
- VHS video cassettes
- Magnetic backup tapes
Please note that data stored on USBs and Solid State Drives (SSDs) can’t be erased through degaussing. To permanently delete information from these devices, you need to physically destroy them.
Data thieves have been known to target USBs and SSDs, so it’s important to dispose of them securely. If you have any old ones lying around, our Digital Media and Hard Drive Destruction service can take care of them for you. Always remember to check your IT policy if you plan on destroying a company-owned device.
Following the completion of the degaussing process Shred-X are also able to provide physical destruction of the device. Once degaussing or physical destruction has taken place, Shred-X provide a detailed Certificate of Destruction. Scanning of serial numbers and complete destruction reporting is also available.
Speak with a Shred-X team member today for more information on degaussing. We can create a customised e-destruction service to suit your requirements.