Hard drive degaussing is a little-known yet highly effective method of wiping data from a hard drive. Degaussing involves demagnetizing (removing the magnetic field) from the equipment, which is why degaussing is only applicable to equipment that operates with a magnetic field, such as computer hard drives, cassette tapes, and videotapes. Despite hard drive degaussing being relatively uncommon, it is nevertheless a secure and effective method of hard drive data wiping.
An Important Point Before We Begin
Before we move on to the important issues surrounding hard drive degaussing, let’s get an often-answer question out of the way.
How do you pronounce degaussing? Degaussing is pronounced the way it is written [dee-gow-sing].
Some online resources will claim to offer a “hard drive degausser DIY,” while other people remain adamant that they have successfully removed all data from a hard drive manually by using strong magnets.
Some websites rightly state that purchasing a degaussing bulk eraser is an expensive exercise and not worth the price if it is only to be used to wipe the data from a handful of hard drives. For this reason, it makes sense to employ a licensed data destruction company to degauss your hard drives. At Data Destruction Corporation, we have professional-level hard drive degaussing machines.
The web is full of stories of people who tried (and ultimately failed) to degauss their hard drives with old speaker magnets, or even super-strength neodymium magnets. And while running high-strength magnets on both sides of a hard drive may appear to have erased some of the data, in actuality it is more likely that the data still exists on the drive. The DIY degaussing methods may have corrupted the hard drive’s allocation table enough for the data to appear to have been erased, but there is no way to know for sure.
Don’t Risk Anything Less Than Hard Drive Degaussing
Rest assured that hackers and those intent on acquiring sensitive data will stop at nothing. Technology continues to progress at an astounding rate, and unfortunately for the majority of people, this includes technology used by hackers to attempt to recover data from old hard drives. Attempting DIY degaussing is simply not worth the risk, especially since companies have ethical and legal obligations to handle sensitive data with due care.
The only way to prove that due care has been taken in the handling of your company’s and your customers’ sensitive information is to produce a Certificate of Destruction. And, as would be expected the only way to legally obtain such a Certificate is to hire the services of a data destruction company – the kind that also expertly handles media shredding and classified equipment destruction – to degauss your hard drives. After the job is complete, we will deliver your degaussed hard drives back to you (or proceed to shred or otherwise destroy them, according to your instructions), along with your Certificate of Destruction.
Degaussing: Not Well Known, Yet Incredibly Effective
Interestingly, research was conducted in late 2016 which took an in-depth look at asset disposition and asset management in United States companies. Part of the research measured methods that companies apply internally to destroy data on their hard drives.
Unfortunately, 34 percent of respondents admitted that they rely simply on hard drive formatting to delete their hard drive data: a disturbing statistic given that hard drive formatting does not effectively erase data. A determined hacker can easily make use of data recovery software to access data that has supposedly been erased by way of hard drive formatting.
Only eight percent of respondents degauss their hard drives: only slightly higher than the percentage of respondents who admitted to attempting to dispose of hard drives by hitting them with a hammer (seven percent).
Hopefully as the importance of data protection becomes more recognized across the United States, effective hard drive erasure methods like degaussing will come into the spotlight.
To find out how the helpful staff at Data Destruction Corporation can assist with hard drive degaussing, contact us today.