Why You Need To Wipe Your Hard Drives - Charterhouse Muller
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Why You Need To Wipe Your Hard Drives

Why You Need To Wipe Your Hard Drives

It’s common enough knowledge now that if you’re going to sell, recycle or even destroy a computer, you need to wipe the hard drive. Hard drives contain mountains of sensitive, confidential data that some not-so-trustworthy people are desperate to get their hands on. It’s so important in fact that it’s part of our law. GDPR tells us that as a company you have a responsibility to ensure all data you handle is disposed of in a safe, secure and confidential manner, and provide evidence of that to boot. So really, there is no question that wiping your hard drive is important. The question is, how do you go about making sure that data is actually gone?

Hitting ‘Delete’ Doesn’t Remove Your Data

Here’s some scary information for you. Just because you hit erase on your computer, doesn’t mean the data is gone. Deleting files, and even doing a factory restore still leaves residual data on your hard drive. Studies have shown time and time again that even the most basic software can locate and retrieve residual data from an old hard drive without much effort. The most prominent study was done in 2003 by MIT. Students bought 258 used hard drives on eBay, 60% of which were being advertised as ‘completely clean and reformatted’, and ran them through some basic forensic software programmes. Doing just this, they recovered over 5,000 credit card numbers, medical records, passwords and other confidential data. Popular consumer magazine Which? did something similar, recovering 22,000 ‘deleted’ files from 8 computers bought on eBay. In short – you can’t rely on a computer telling you it’s wiped your data.

Why Not?

Don’t worry, there’s nothing wrong with your computer. The reason deleting files doesn’t clear the data lies in the way hard drives store information. On every hard drive there is an index file, written by the processor. This file stores and updates a listing of where on the hard drive each file is located. When you delete a file the index for it is removed, so the hard drive can’t see it, but the file is still there, buried away from surface level access. So hard drive scraping software can scrape this lower level and access all of that data. This kind of software is easily accessible and is often used by criminals to harvest data to sell on the black market, or use for their own criminal enterprises. This is a significant risk to you, your business, and anyone else whose data you have stored on that machine.

So How Do You Remove The Data?

So if deleting the data and wiping the hard drive doesn’t cut it, how can you ensure your business data is erased from a computer hard drive before you resell or recycle it? Simple – you send it to someone like us. We use state of the art, certified data erasure software to go deep into the hard drive, past the index level, to completely and securely erase every piece of data on your hard drive. This software has been certified to erase to up to 22 standards and provides tamper-proof reports to meet security and regulatory compliance requirements. This software is tailored to delete confidential data quickly and effectively. Using a professional data erasure service also means you can guarantee your data is handled securely and destroyed in line with government regulations. It’s a win-win.

At Charterhouse Muller, we undertake secure data erasure on hard drives, PC’s & Notebooks, servers and much more as a part of our secure IT disposal services. Our team are all highly trained in the handling, erasure and disposal of IT assets of all shapes and sizes, and can provide you with a certificate as proof of data destruction, so you can have absolute peace of mind. To find out more about our secure data destructions services, just get in touch with the team today.