We talk a lot about shredding confidential documents and other paperwork, but do you ever think about the other things in your life that contain sensitive information? In the modern age we tend to keep a lot of information on our phones and computers, but give little thought to what data stays on the device after a ‘system reset’. Amazingly, it’s much more data than you would think. That’s why you should always remove your hard drive before you sell your old computer or laptop.
Why Shred Your Old Hard Drives?
Shredding a hard drive is the only way to ensure that the data on it can never be retrieved (short of investing in a very large magnet). Many people think that if you format your hard drive, you are erasing the data from it. This isn’t the case – as this only clears the re-writable areas. There are still many areas of your hard drive that formatting doesn’t cover. To illustrate this, a group of students from MIT bought 258 used, formatted hard drives on eBay. Using some basic, freely available forensic software they were able to recover over 5000 credit and debit card numbers, medical records, social security numbers and other highly sensitive information. Running a magnet over your hard drive won’t wipe it clean either, as you would need a magnet with a pull force of at least 450 pounds to have any effect. But with a pull force like that you would only be successful because you’d have destroyed everything else in the room as well.
How Does It Work?
Unfortunately, hard drives won’t go through your average office shredder! Instead you need professional grade equipment to destroy your hard drive completely. But unless you are a big office that goes through computers really quickly, you probably won’t have lots of hard drives building up just waiting to be destroyed. So instead, you will need to order a one off hard drive destruction service from your local, friendly shredding company. It’s not an expensive service, and often the shredding service will offer collection of free postage for you. Once the hard drive has been collected, it will be taken away to a secure shredding facility and destroyed. Our robust metal shredders are specifically designed to tackle tough electronics, so the actual shredding process will look something like this. Once it has been destroyed and the data rendered irretrievable, you will be sent a certificate of destruction and video evidence of destruction if you requested it. The remains of the hard drive can then be picked apart and recycled into new metals and computer parts.
If you’ve been stockpiling old computers and laptops instead of getting rid of them, hard drive shredding provides the perfect solution for you. Shredding your hard drive protects your business against digital data theft in the most realistic way possible – by completely destroying the data. Computers and laptops without hard drives can still be sold on to recoup costs or make a profit, but with the knowledge that your data is safe. If you’re not sure how to remove the hard drive from your computer, check out our guide here. If you need someone to dispose of your old hard drives, or just want to find out more about our shredding solutions, get in touch with one of our team today.