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Monday, January 12, 2009

Article - Don't Let your data fall into the wrong hands

Removing data from a hard drive, permanently, is something that sounds an awful lot simpler than it proves to be in reality. As we all know deleting a file does not remove the file or its content from the hard drive permanently, data recovery companies can normally aid in the recovery of such files, no doubt other less scrupulous individuals are equally capable of such recovery feats.

So if it is so hard to remove private data from an old hard drive what exactly should you be doing to ensure your data has no risk of getting into the wrong hands?

To put it simply there is no safe and easy way of ensuring that data is permantly eradicated from a hard disk or any other form of storage medium in reality. That doesn’t mean however that it can’t be done.

Data can only be considered completely erased when it has been overwritten several times, each time using a different method. The level of overwriting usually considered to guarantee that data has been successfully erased is a seven pass overwriting method using software or manual processes that adhere to the DoD 5220.22-M standard for data erasure.

There is software available that can help in the task but many people prefer to leave data elimination to professional services as they will at least understand the exact processes that need to be followed to ensure complete elimination of any data and the chance of it falling into the wrong hands.

Apart from software and manual deletion there are more robust methods of data disposal which is commonally know as data destruction. This involves the complete destruction of the disks to the point where recovery would be impossible.

If you wish to attempt this yourself, it is important to note that the platters within the device should be completely destroyed, this means bending, scratching, smashing, shattering or whatever else seems reasonable to completely annihilate the hard disk platter.

Always remember deleting a file does not remove your data beyond the point of recovery. Formatting a hard disk, even full formats/low level formats do not guarantee complete data erasure. Re-installing an operating system does not get rid of your data either. The only reliable method is the multi-pass method.

If your data is business critical or extremely sensitive, always ensure that you can have the data certifiably removed from the storage media, whether that media be Flash Memory device, a hard disk drive, a RAID Array, Floppy Disk or CD / DVD Optical Media often only a professional can help you.

Your local data recovery services company will be able to advise you on safe data disposal methods and will probably have a local service. Data recovery and disposal should always be left to professional operators who are happy to certify their work.

1 comment:

Hard Drive Recovery Software said...

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