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Disk and Data Sanitization - Degauss or Disk Scrubbing ?

When you are  Disposing your old Hard drives, merely deleting or reformatting is not enough to sanitize  the hard drive. Even after formatting, the Confidential information stays on your hard drives/ data tapes and can easily be retrieved even with consumer grade data Recovery software. 

To Avoid the data being read by unauthorized people, the media must be properly sanitized before disposing off. There are 3 Ways to Sanitize your hard drives and tapes, making sure that that data is beyond recovery - Degaussing, Disk Scrubbing and Physical Destruction of Media . Each one has its Pros and Cons and which one to use depends on what your goal is

Degaussing To sanitize your Hard drives and Tapes

Degaussing is the fastest, quietest and surest way of sanitizing your media. Degaussers produce a very high magnetic field. Once your media is exposed to this magnetic field, all the data is lost. Moreover the magnetic field also renders the media useless, you can not use your hard drive again once it's been degaussed.

Pros of Degaussing
  • Its Extremely Fast. About 60 seconds per media
  • Its very quiet and there is no noice
  • There is Absolutely no way the data can be recovered after Degaussing

Cons of Degaussing

  • You can't reuse your media after degaussing. It has to be disposed off.
  • Doesn't work for Flash drives and SSDs. Only good for Magnetic Media like tapes and hard drives.

Disk Scrubbing to Remove all your Data from Hard drives

Disk scrubbing is a hard drive sanitization process in which a hard drive is overwritten with useless data (usually 0 and ones ) a number of times to ensure that the old data is complete overwritten by the useless data. Disk Scrubbing is a very slow process as the entire capacity of hard drive must be written and erased and rewritten a number of times.

Pros of Disk Scrubbing
  • You can reuse your Media After Disk Scrubbing
  • Data is Eliminated beyond recovery

Cons of Disk Scrubbing

  • It takes a very long time to scrub the Disk. Entire Disk is to be rewritten a number of times, depending on Disk capacity and speed, it can be a long time.

Physically Crushing the hard drives and Media to Sanitize

There is nothing more reassuring than seeing your media being physically crushed, and that's the reason behind the popularity of hard drive crushers. Platters of Hard drives are bent and broken, making recovery impossible. For SSD drives, there is a special attachment that punctures each flash chip onboard.

Pros of Crushing
  • Physically evident destruction

Cons of Crushing

  • Noicy
  • needs attachment for SSDs
  • Doesn't work on tapes. Tapes must be shredded as crushing doesn't work

Sanitizing your media properly before disposing it is essential to make sure that it never ends up in the wrong hands, how you do Data Sanitization however depends on your needs.