Destroy Your Hardrive?

What exactly is a hard drive? What does it do? How can you secure your data? These questions are very relevant to your personal and business data security.

What is a hard disk? A hard drive is a piece or hardware that stores information about your computer, cell phone, etc. It consists of two boards, a platter to store data and a writehead that transfers electronic data onto your platter.

What is a hard drive? A hard drive in your computer, personal or business computer works in the same way as a cd/dvd player in your car. A hard drive is simply a platter or disc that stores electronic data. This data can be written in partitions (imagine a pie cut into pieces, each partition would be a partition). It also saves data, such as applications, documents and programs, which are accessible to users.

Two aspects should be considered when destroying electronic data. One, secure and thorough data destruction, and two, responsible disposal of hardware. It is vital to protect your business and personal data. Data security is easy, but some common data destruction and “hard drive destruction” practices can be disastrous for your local environment.

You can often find a YouTube video showing a man using a hammer to destroy his computer’s hard drive by searching the internet. This approach can be a great stress reliever, and it will provide you with 2 minutes of entertainment online. However, there are safer and more responsible ways to safely and responsibly dispose of an old or sensitive hard disk.

It should take only one step to destroy your hard drive data, and then dispose of any remaining hardware. Tossing your destroyed hard drive in the garbage can contributes to the increasing amount of electronic waste (ewaste), found in landfills. Currently, ewaste only contributes 1% to U.S. landfills but they account for 70% toxins found in landfills.

Contacting an electronics recycling company that is compliant with NIST/HIPAA and EPA certification will ensure data security and responsible recycling.

What is the best way to destroy your hard drive data? You can only “destroy” your data by using an electronic process. This is often called “ghosting” and “wiping.” However, simply formatting your hard drive does not make your business or personal data unavailable. The National Institute of Standards and Technology, the United States Department of Defense (US DOD), and the United States Department of Defense have developed a set of standards that define data destruction requirements for personal and commercial electronic data destruction.

Electronic data destruction is actually a process that rewrites a random sequence of 1’s, 0,’s and a few other characters over the data on your hard drive platter. In order to comply with US DOD standards, electronic recyclers must perform a three-pass rewrite. Completing this process will satisfy the US DOD, NIST and HIPAA requirements as well as SOX (industry specific regulatory boards) recommendations for electronic data destruction. Your data will be “destroyed” securely if you use a certified or compliant electronic recycling service.

For data security and electronic recycling, make sure you contact an electronics recycling company certified. Many electronics recycling companies will offer certificates of secure data destruction. Protect your data and recycle responsibly!

This post was written by Steven Elia Co-Founder and Recycling Director at eCycle Florida is a R2 Certified electronics recycling company in the state of Florida. Our processes and procedures are dedicated to the proper destruction and recycling of your electronics. eCycle Florida is your go-to when looking for an electronic recycling center in Tampa.