Revealed: Top 5 Hard Drive Destruction Methods That Actually Work

Hard Drive Destruction Methods That Actually Work

Imagine the damage you will have to clean up if some of your old hard drives are stolen by cybercriminals. Apart from your clients withdrawing their trust in your organization, it would cost you thousands to millions of dollars to fix such a situation. This is why you have to invest in proper hard drive destruction methods like hard drive shredding.

In September 2017, Coca-Cola spent a substantial amount (including a potential $1 million each fraud reimbursement) when a bad actor stole old hard drives containing the data of 8000 employees. This could be you too if you don’t get rid of your old hard drives properly. Luckily for you, there are several ways to do this and we’ve highlighted them below:

1. Degaussing

If you no longer use your hard drives, you can degauss them. This involves using a powerful device known as a degausser. Basically, the device uses a strong magnetic force to scramble the hard drive platter. This way, it cannot be used or read by anyone. Since data is stored using magnetic principles, degaussing simply alters the magnetic direction of the drive. While this is one of the most efficient hard drive destruction methods, it has two major downsides:

  • You can’t easily use a degausser on your own without the necessary expertise or supervision.
  • Unless you plan to destroy hard drives regularly, you may find it difficult to justify the expense involved with buying a degausser.

2. Shredding

Hard drive shredding is one of the most effective ways to destroy a hard drive. It involves running the drive through a machine known as a shredder, which cuts it into tiny bits. Since hard drives store data on a platter, cutting it into small pieces renders the drive and any data on it useless. Some shredders also compress the shredded material into compact forms for disposal. Unfortunately, shredding a hard drive yourself isn’t advisable for various reasons:

  • Hard drive shredders and compactors are expensive.
  • The Shredding process releases environmental contaminants.

3. Disintegration

Organizations looking to destroy highly classified information, usually choose disintegration as one of their preferred hard drive destruction methods. The process is carried out using a disintegrator– a machine with a conveyor system and knife that slices hard drives into smaller particles. Malicious actors will not be able to access the drives or data on them because the disintegrated pieces can’t be reassembled. Just like any other method, disintegration has a few drawbacks:

  • Disintegrators are heavy and have special electrical requirements (3-phase 220 volt).
  • The machines also require heavy ventilation and are not suitable for the office environment.

4. Melting

Melting hard drives involves dipping them in acid to destroy their platters and housing. Although this is one of the most effective hard drive destruction methods, it is also one of the most dangerous. This is because the process involves using hydrochloric and nitric acids. Both acids are dangerous to the environment and almost any compound. This includes human skin, so you must handle them with the appropriate protective gear. Generally, this process is not advisable.

5. Drilling

Putting holes in a hard drive destroys its platter and ensures that nobody can use the data on it. It is also one of the best ways to go about the hard drive destruction process because you don’t need to use any complex machines. So how do you drill the platter?

There are two ways to do it:

  • By using a hand drill.
  • By using a hammer or nail gun to drive a nail through.

The Best Way To Carry Out These Hard Drive Destruction Methods Safely

None of the methods discussed above should be carried out without supervision because they are hazardous and subject to regulation in some cases. The easiest way to destroy a hard drive safely is by using the services of a certified data destruction company. That’s where we come in.

Here at Data Destruction inc., we handle everything from data erasure to secure destruction of hard drives, equipment disposal and even paper shredding. We ensure secure data handling in the most convenient way for our clients. It’s time for you to stop worrying about a potential hard drive breach. Contact us to discuss the best data destruction package for your organization and we’ll take it from there.

Have you recently tried any of these hard drive destruction methods? Leave a comment below and we will respond. Don’t forget to share this with anyone who would like to learn about secure destruction of hard drives.


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