Data Destruction

Data Destruction


When dealing with end of life data there are a number of methods to ensure that the data is securely and permanently destroyed. This includes erasing, degaussing, shredding and disintegration. For each of these there are different methods, standards and processes, and numerous reasons for determining which method to use. There are pros and cons for each destruction method and most organizations will use a combination of methods to comply with their internal policies and legal obligations. Before a data destruction policy can be formulated two important questions have to be answered. Where is the data stored? -Hard Drives, CD/DVD, USB sticks, Mobile Devices, etc. And what damage would occur if the data came into the public domain, i.e. what is the risk to the organization if data is lost. The method of destruction will depend on the risk. And the methods range from doing nothing (not a good idea), to a single pass erase, to shredding to DoD Top Secret levels. Innovative IT Solutions, Inc. will help you assess your situation and help you make a decision by determining the risk of data loss and the balance between the cost and any resale value of the equipment.

Generally there is no one perfect solution to computer disposal. And almost certainly a combination of one or two methods will be deployed. These days financial, stakeholder obligations, CSR and legal compliance are the main driving factors behind how computer disposal policies are defined and by using a Specialist Disposal Partner like Innovative IT Solutions, Inc. all of these concerns can easily be addressed. If a Trickle down Policy is also employed then a balance can be achieved in maximizing the life of the equipment and ensuring legal compliance at minimal costs.


Three of the most common destruction methods are:

  • Data Erasing: Erasure is performed using Department of Defense approved standards and procedures, and then shredding if not for re-use/return. Department of Defense protocol covers both baseline and enhanced overwriting of data. At 'baseline' level the software overwrites every sector of the hard disk with one pass of randomly generated data. At 'enhanced' level every sector is over-written three times: first with a 1, then every sector is over-written again with a 0, and then every sector is over-written a third time with randomly generated 1s and 0s. *If a hard disk is faulty and cannot be erased then it is physically destroyed by using an industrial shredder.
  • Degaussing Erasure: Degaussing may be accomplished in two ways: 1. AC erasure, the medium is degaussed by applying an alternating field that is reduced in amplitude over time from an initial high value (i.e., AC powered); 2. DC erasure, the medium is saturated by applying a unidirectional field (i.e., DC powered or by employing a permanent magnet).
  • Shredding/Disintegration: The shredding/disintegration process utilizes a purpose built low speed, high torque, industrial disintegrator, which involves a process of cutting and grinding the medium into small particles that are finally reduced to pass through a screen (40mm - 6mm dependent on security requirements). At 6mm not even the world's most capable IT professionals could piece the data together again.


The advantages of using Innovative IT Solutions, Inc. for your data destruction needs, is that we will assume liability from the time we collect the equipment. And being a reputable, compliant company we will be erasing data in accordance with all state and federal standards, while providing Certificates of Data Destruction for your records. We will also ensure that any equipment that requires proper recycling is processed in accordance with all state, federal and international laws. Innovative IT Solutions, Inc. will also be the expert at maximizing the return for re-marketable equipment and will be able to provide you the absolute most return for your equipment or at the very least keep costs to a minimum!