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What Is Data Destruction?

As data storage technology has become more widespread and security concerns have risen, data destruction has become an invaluable practice in ensuring that data remains secure both before and after it is no longer in use.  

One of the best ways to protect your data is to ensure its destruction when it’s no longer needed. But what is data destruction, and how can you be sure it’s being done correctly?

What is Data Destruction? 

Data destruction is the process of permanently deleting digital information so that it can no longer be accessed or recovered. This is different from simply deleting files, which only removes them from view; data that has been properly destroyed will be unrecoverable by even the most sophisticated recovery tools. 

This process is important for companies because it ensures that their confidential data remains confidential. When done correctly, data destruction protects companies from data breaches, comply with privacy regulations, and avoid hefty fines. 

How is Data Destroyed?

Data can be destroyed through physical means, such as shredding or degaussing, or through logical means, such as data erasure or encryption.

There are a number of reasons why you might need to destroy data. Perhaps your organization must rid old hardware that contains sensitive information, or maybe dispose of customer records that are no longer needed. In any case, it’s important to make sure that the data is truly destroyed and cannot be accessed by anyone who shouldn’t have it. 

Why Destroy Data? 

The three most common reasons are to protect confidential information, to comply with privacy regulations, and to avoid hefty fines. 

Protect Confidential Information 

Companies have a duty to protect their confidential information. This includes information about their employees, customers, financials, or other Personally Identifying Information (PII). If this information were to get into the wrong hands, it could be used for malicious purposes or sold on the black market. To prevent this from happening, companies need to destroy their data so that it can never be recovered or read again. 

Comply with Privacy Regulations 

Privacy regulations are constantly changing and evolving. Companies need to make sure that they are up-to-date on the latest privacy regulations so that they can avoid hefty fines. One way to comply with privacy regulations is to destroy data that is no longer needed so that it cannot be accessed by unauthorized individuals. 

Avoid Hefty Fines 

If a company does not comply with privacy regulations, they can be heavily fined. These hefty fines can seriously damage a company’s bottom line—making data destruction an important part of any compliance or risk mitigation strategy.

Methods of Data Destruction 

There are several methods of data destruction, and the method you choose will depend on the type of data you’re dealing with and your security needs. Some common methods include: 

  • Physical destruction: This involves physically destroying the device that contains the data, such as drilling holes through hard drives or breaking CDs and DVDs into pieces. 
  • Overwriting: This entails writing new data over the top of the old data, making it impossible to recover the original information. This can be done using special software programs designed for data destruction. 
  • Encryption: This method renders data unreadable by encrypting it with a code that can only be unlocked with a key known only by authorized individuals. Once encrypted, even if someone were to gain access to the data, they would not be able to read it without the key. 

Choosing Data Destruction 

All in all, data destruction is an essential component of responsible data management practices. When it comes to protecting your organization’s online information, data destruction is a vital step. 

By taking measures to securely destroy their data, teams can keep them safe from malicious use while staying compliant with any applicable regulations. There are many different methods of data destruction, so be sure to choose the one that best meets your needs. With proper data destruction, you can rest assured that your company’s information is safe and secure.

Christina Ortega

Christina is a Senior Content Strategist. She enjoys writing about recycling, e-waste, PII, risk mitigation, and security, among other areas. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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