Here’s everything you need to know about hard drive shredders.
What is a hard drive shredder?
TechTarget defines a hard drive shredder as “a mechanical device that physically destroys old hard drives in such a way that the data they contain cannot be recovered.” Typically this machine is designed to shred the casing or disc completely, or severing the platter on which the data is stored. The metal and plastic of the hard drive is grinded using industrial razor-sharp blades that render particle sizes of 0.75” to 1.5”.
Why use a hard drive shredder?
Because it’s not enough to delete or format data on a hard drive. Hackers can find ways to recover the most remote pieces of data on a partition. Even overwriting the old data with new data will have no effect, as there is always some form of a backup or long term storage on a drive. Some programmers will develop software that writes “gibberish” data to mask or bury the original data, but more advanced hackers or security specialists will find ways to recover the data.
Even other physical methods, such as drilling or scratching the disc, will not work. If any part of the disc is intact, there’s a strong chance that the data located in that part of the disc can survive.
The benefits of using a hard drive shredder
Convenient – Whether you buy your own or go with a data security/destruction firm, you’ll save yourself potentially months with shredding. Consider all the lost hours spent on drives that are improperly destroyed, hacked, and then finally recovered. Save yourself the headache.
Cost-effective – Speaking of investments, just think about the dollars lost in unsuccessful data destruction methods and recovering hacked data. Wouldn’t it be easier to just ensure the data is properly destroyed in the first place?
Safe – There are innumerable ways to delete your data, but only a few that actually ensure it’s gone for good. Hard drive shredders are one of the more reliable ways.
Quick – Shredding takes no more than an hour from start to finish. If you need data gone immediately, data shredding won’t need a loading bar.
The considerations of using a hard drive shredder
Individual buyer cost – If you’re looking to buy your own shredder, expect the good ones to start at around $20,000. It may be more logical or beneficial to go with a firm, or to rent if such an option is available.
Not effective on its own – If you truly wish to destroy your data permanently, it’s recommended you combine hard drive shredding with some other data sanitization technique. That in turn can bring up the overall costs.
Potentially dangerous/toxic – Hard drive shredders are not hobbyist or consumer products: you MUST know beforehand how to operate one and the necessary safety precautions involved. The particulate that comes from the shredding process has been known to be hazardous and toxic to people’s health, and the razor blades may result in one’s injury if not careful. Hire a professional to help you if in doubt.
Hard drive shredders are one of the most foolproof methods for ensuring your sensitive data can no longer be restored. It has countless benefits for businesses that want absolute certainty their data is permanently gone. Of course, hard drive shredders cannot be purchased by just about anyone. Before you purchase or use one, consult experts on best practices.