Nearly all organisations are rightfully concerned about the role that cyber security plays in their daily operations. Of course, some of the most common issues include robust firewalls, network redundancy and email privacy. Unfortunately, there is another facet of this equation that can often be overlooked. This comes in the form of data destruction.
Recent studies have shown that 21 percent of all files were not adequately protected. Furthermore, a staggering 41 percent of companies surveyed possessed over 1,000 personal files that were not equipped with any type of privacy protocols. While these are indeed shocking from the point of view of in-house operations, what about how this very same information is disposed of?
What Is Data Destruction?
It is clearly prudent to adequately define the term “data destruction” before moving on, as it is sometimes associated with negative connotations. Some well-known (and perhaps more traditional examples) include deleting old emails and physically shredding sensitive documents. However, these methods might no longer be entirely sufficient in these modern times. Why is this the case?
Many businesses now employ much more robust data storage solutions. Examples include cloud-based systems, USB drives, network servers, and information found within portable devices. Thus, it becomes clear to see that this data could become vulnerable to nefarious attacks or theft if it is not disposed of properly. This is also why the notion of data destruction in these modern times has been updated to offer exceedingly reliable solutions.
Effective Techniques to Ensure Superior Levels of Cyber Security
Contemporary data destruction methods can be broken down into three discrete categories:
- Overwriting any information contained within a storage device.
- Physically destroying the storage medium in question.
Overwriting existing data tends to be the simplest solution, as it is often used if an organisation wishes to wipe old information and to continue using the device. However, there can be times when the original data may once again be recovered.
The second approach involves degaussing. This essentially consists of exposing the hard drive to an extremely powerful magnetic field. The result is that all existing information will be rendered completely unreadable; it can never be recovered.
The final option is arguably the most thorough, as physically destroying a device eliminates the chances that any information can be accessed. This practice is usually carried out by ITAD-approved firms to ensure that the process is completed to the highest of industry standards. Firms utilising legacy hardware will often choose such a method, as the devices themselves have become outdated.
The Benefits of Data Destruction for Modern Businesses
There are many risks related to cyber security that can be tackled by adopting the appropriate data destruction techniques. The most obvious advantage involves the fact that most firms will store data related to employees and clients for specific periods of time. Hackers and similar cyber criminals will often choose to target these vulnerabilities. It is also important to mention that data at rest (historical data) may not be as thoroughly protected when compared to real-time information. These are very tempting opportunities for hackers.
Destroying second-hand and legacy devices help to guarantee that any information contained within their software is eradicated; massively reducing in-house security risks. It is likewise important to point out that some used devices may be placed on the open market without the knowledge that they could contain sensitive information. Thus, the user will inadvertently jeopardise the data associated with others. Ablating such details or physically destroying the devices can eliminate such situations.
Adopting the Correct Protocols
Now that it is clear to appreciate the pivotal role of data destruction in relation to cyber security, how can an organisation choose the right method? Answering this question will first depend upon the time required to ablate all information. This is obviously crucial in terms of larger firms that store data across multiple nodes.
Furthermore, the cost is another variable. More thorough techniques such as degaussing or physical destruction will normally be outsourced to a professional third-party firm. Dealing with multiple devices may become an expensive endeavour and yet, this approach also guarantees that the information will not fall into the wrong hands.
It is therefore wise to examine all available options and to appreciate the unique logistics associated with each. Those who are entirely unfamiliar with data destruction should also make it a point to consult with a reputable firm to address any additional questions that they may have.
Data destruction and cyber security should always enjoy a hand-in-hand relationship in these modern times. As a growing number of digital threats continue to emerge, it only stands to reason that these concepts will be taken even more seriously by organisations of all sizes.
- The Link Between Cyber Security and Data Destruction - January 14, 2021