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Hard drive shredding – A comprehensive guide to destroying a hard drive

Updated on 14 December 2023

When most people think about data security, they think about protecting their computer from viruses and hackers. However, there is another important aspect of data security that is often overlooked: hard drive shredding. When you delete files from your hard drive, they are not actually erased. They can be easily recovered by anyone with the right software. This means that your confidential information can be accessed by criminals, leading to identity theft and other crimes.

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In addition, if your company is ever investigated by the government for violating data protection laws, you could face hefty fines. The best way to protect yourself from these risks is to use a hard drive shredding service. In this article, we will explain why hard drive shredding is important, how it works. Finally, we will discuss the benefits of using a hard drive shredding service.

How hard drive shredding works

Hard drive shredding services use special equipment to physically destroy hard drives. This ensures that the data on the hard drive is completely unrecoverable. The hard drive shredding process usually takes place at an off-site facility, so you don’t have to worry about disposing of the hard drives yourself. Once the hard drives have been shredded, you will be given a certificate of destruction, which is evidence that you have destroyed your hard drives in a secure manner.

Pipedrive logo The CRM platform to grow your business
  • Great for entrepreneurs
  • Powerful data analytics
  • Manage sales and data
Rippling logo Manage all your employee data
  • Run in 90 seconds
  • 100% error-free
  • Automatic tx filing
Wix logo Powerful web builder and advanced business tools
  • Great for startups
  • Powerful web page builder
  • E-commerce available
Planable logo Supercharged content planning
  • Great for marketing
  • Better than lists or sheets
  • Manage social media
Webador logo Create a new website in 10 minutes. Easy.
  • Launch your website fast
  • Powerful data intuitive
  • No coding skills needed

5 hard drive destruction methods

  1. Degaussing
  2. Shredding
  3. Drilling
  4. Crushing
  5. Incinerating

1. Degaussing

Degaussing is the process of erasing or removing the magnetic field of a storage device, such as a hard drive. This method is seen as one of the most effective ways to destroy a hard drive, as it completely eliminates any chance of the data being recovered. However, degaussing can also be one of the most expensive methods, as it requires specialised equipment.

ProsCons
Effective at destroying dataRequires specialised equipment
Can be used on multiple hard drives at onceExpensive
Pros and cons of degaussing a hard drive

2. Shredding

Shredding is a popular method of hard drive destruction as it is effective relatively inexpensive. Hard drives can be shredded using a commercial shredder. When you shred a hard drive, it is important to make sure the pieces are small enough that they cannot be put back together. If the pieces are too large, someone could potentially reconstruct the hard drive and access the data.

ProsCons
EffectiveMust shred into small enough pieces so it can’t be reconstructed
Relatively inexpensiveNeed specialised equipment to do it properly
Pros and cons of shredding a hard drive

3. Drilling

Drilling is another popular method of hard drive destruction as it is quick, easy, and effective. All you need to drill a hole through a hard drive is a power drill and a metal drill bit. This method works by physically damaging the disk platters inside the hard drive, rendering the data unrecoverable. While drilling is an effective method, it does create a lot of debris and dust, which can be harmful to your health if inhaled.

ProsCons
Quick and easyCreates debris and dust
EffectiveCan be harmful to your health if inhaled
Pros and cons of drilling a hard drive

4. Crushing

Crushing is a hard drive destruction method that uses physical force to damage the disk platters inside the hard drive. This can be done with a hammer, shredder, or even your bare hands. While crushing is an effective way to destroy data, it can be very dangerous as you are dealing with sharp metal fragments. Additionally, crushing does not always completely destroy the hard drive and data could still potentially be recovered.

ProsCons
Effective at destroying dataExpensive and need specialised equipment
Does not always completely destroy hard drive
Pros and cons of crushing a hard drive

5. Incinerating

Incinerating is a hard drive destruction method that involves using fire to damage the hard drive beyond repair. This can be done with a blowtorch, bonfire, or even in an industrial incinerator. Incinerating is an effective way to destroy data as it completely destroys the hard drive. However, this method is also very dangerous and can release harmful toxins into the air if not done properly.

ProsCons
Effective at destroying dataNeed a specialised equipment
Can release harmful toxins into the air if not done properly
Pros and cons of incinerating a hard drive

Things to keep in mind when shredding hard drives

When destroying hard drives, there are a few things you should keep in mind to ensure that the data is completely destroyed and unrecoverable. When choosing a method, you should consider factors such as cost, effectiveness, and safety. Additionally, you should keep in mind that hard drive destruction is not a one-time event. You should have a plan in place for regularly scheduled hard drive destruction to ensure that your data is always protected.

Data loss is a massive problem for businesses

If you have sensitive data on your hard drive, it is important to make sure that it is properly destroyed to prevent criminals from accessing it. There are a number of hard drive destruction methods that you can use to destroy your hard drive and protect your data. Every year, thousands of businesses are the victims of data breaches. Don’t let your business be one of them.

Deleting files isn’t enough

Just deleting files from your hard drive is not enough to protect your data. Even if you format your hard drive, data can still be recovered. An alternative to physically destroying the drive is to use software that will encrypt the data on the drive so that it is unreadable.

Is a do-it-yourself option feasible?

Having your own hard drive shredder can be a great way to ensure that your data is destroyed completely. However, they are not cheap. Cheaper models start at around £10,000 and more expensive models are over £30,000. So unless you are going to be shredding lots of hard drives on a regular basis it would not be a good investment.

Once you have shredded your hard drives you will need a place to dispose of the waste. The waste can be toxic so you can’t put it in a normal bin and will have to find a service that will dispose of it for you. This also raises the question of employee safety when shredding hard drives. Tiny can particles are released which can be toxic and harmful to health. So you will need to implement some sort of health and safety plan to keep employees safe.

Overall it is not a viable option to shred hard drives yourself, it is better to use a hard drive shredding service. These services are designed to safely and securely destroy hard drives. They will have the right equipment and knowledge to do the job properly. Plus you won’t have to worry about disposing of the waste or keeping employees safe.

Benefits of using a hard drive shredding service

The main benefit of using a hard drive shredding service is that it provides peace of mind. Knowing that your hard drives have been securely shredded means that you don’t have to worry about your confidential information being accessed by criminals.

In addition, using a hard drive shredding service can save you time and money. Rather than having to dispose of your hard drives yourself, a shredding company can pick them up from you. This can save you a significant amount of time and money.

By using a shredding service you will meet GDPR compliance and therefore avoid fines and loss of reputation as a business.

Using a hard drive shredding service can save you a large amount of office space by freeing up hard drive storage.

Benefits of using a hard drive shredding service
These include peace of mind, time and money savings, create more space in your office, and compliance with GDPR regulations.

What is a certificate of destruction?

A certificate of destruction is evidence that you have destroyed your hard drives in a secure manner. The certificate of destruction will list the date and time of the hard drive shredding, as well as the name of the hard drive shredding company. This certificate can be useful if you ever need to show that you have destroyed your hard drives in a secure manner.

FAQs on hard drive shredding

Why is hard drive shredding important?

Hard drive shredding is important because it ensures that your data is truly gone. When you delete files from your hard drive, they are not actually erased. They can be easily recovered by anyone with the right software. This means that your confidential information can be accessed by criminals, leading to identity theft and other crimes. In addition, if your company is ever investigated by the government for violating data protection laws, you could face hefty fines. The best way to protect yourself from these risks is to use a hard drive shredding service.

How does hard drive shredding work?

Hard drive shredding services use special equipment to physically destroy hard drives. This ensures that the data on the hard drive is completely unrecoverable. The hard drive shredding process usually takes place at an off-site facility, so you don’t have to worry about disposing of the hard drives yourself. Once the hard drives have been shredded, you will be given a certificate of destruction, which is evidence that you have destroyed your hard drives in a secure manner.

What are the benefits of using a hard drive shredding service?

The main benefit of using a hard drive shredding service is that it provides peace of mind. Knowing that your hard drives have been securely shredded means that you don’t have to worry about your confidential information being accessed by criminals. In addition, using a hard drive shredding service can save you time and money. Rather than having to dispose of your hard drives yourself, you can simply drop them off at the shredding facility. This can save you a significant amount of time and money.

What is a certificate of destruction?

A certificate of destruction is evidence that you have destroyed your hard drives in a secure manner. The certificate of destruction will list the date and time of the hard drive shredding, as well as the name of the hard drive shredding company. This certificate can be useful if you ever need to show that you have destroyed your hard drives in a secure manner.

Do I need to use a hard drive shredding service?

While hard drive shredding is not required by law, it is highly recommended. Using a hard drive shredding service is the best way to ensure that your data is truly gone and that your hard drives are destroyed in a secure manner. If you have any concerns about data security, we highly recommend using a hard drive shredding service.

How much does hard drive shredding cost?

The cost of hard drive shredding varies depending on the company you use and the number of hard drives you need to be shredded. However, the average cost of hard drive shredding is $100 per hard drive. This is a small price to pay for the peace of mind that comes with knowing your data is truly gone.

Reviewed by , Managing Director

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