Which Hard Drive Disposal Method Should You Use? | Bass Computer Recycling (BCI)

Which Hard Drive Disposal Method Should You Use?

Bass - Micro -Data SecurityAccording to the Identity Theft Resource Center, there were 6,079 data breaches striking businesses of all sizes across the United States from January 1, 2015 to April 18, 2016. During that time, an incredible 862,527,023 individual records were compromised. When you consider the fact that, according to the IBM 2015 Cost of a Data Beach Study, the average cost of a single compromised record was $154, cyber security and related issues cost the United States an average of $132,829,161,542 over the course of about a year and a half.

This is one of the major reasons why secure hard drive destruction and disposal is so important – it helps make sure that your confidential and sensitive information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, even after it has outlived its usefulness to you. When it comes to hard drive disposal methods, however, there are a few key options available to you that you’ll need to explore depending on the situation.


One of the most popular methods of hard drive disposal is called degaussing. In this situation, a powerful magnetic field is used to erase the data stored on the drive itself, destroying all data at the same time. Because degaussing uses the very nature of a standard hard drive against itself (data is both stored via magnetic means and is vulnerable to that same technology), it is a guaranteed form of hard drive erasure.

One of the challenges present with degaussing has to do with the fact that not all units will work equally well on all types of hard drives. Degaussers are typically rated based on the strength of their magnetic field, which means that you need to carefully match up the type of degausser you’re using with the type of hard drive you’re trying to dispose of. This can complicate the process, leave room for user error and can ultimately make the process of hard drive disposal more expensive for businesses attempting to do everything on their own than they might like.

Data Wiping

Data wiping is a process that uses software to permanently erase (or wipe) all data contained on a hard drive. Instead of simply deleting a file, for example, that file is written over multiple times to help make sure that it cannot be recovered in the foreseeable future. This is also considered a permanent and reliable form of hard drive disposal.

The major issue with this, however, is the fact that newer, flash-based memory (like solid state drives) can only be written to a limited number of times throughout their lifespan. Because of this, performing data wiping on a regular basis to something like a solid state drive could artificially shorten the shelf life of that equipment, causing it to be replaced sooner than one might like.


Shredding/Data Destruction

Shredding is another common method of hard drive disposal, though it is permanent in more ways than one. Not only is the data contained on the drive destroyed, but the physical hard drive itself is also shredded or crushed before disposing of the pieces that remain. While this is a wonderfully efficient way to guarantee that the files that once lived on the drive will not be compromised, the major downside comes by way of the fact that the drive itself is worthless afterwards and cannot be used again under any circumstances.

If you’re interested in finding out more information about hard drive disposal methods, or if you’re looking for additional information about how to keep your mission-critical data out of the wrong hands through secure destruction, please contact Bass Computer Recycling today.