Recent data from Gartner showed that over 261 million new personal computers were sold in 2019. With nearly 75% of new PCs replacing older units, one may wonder what happens to all of the old computers. Most of these PC’s end up at recycling facilities or organizations that ‘promise’ to erase your personal information. These companies use various methods for erasure and eradication, most utilizing overwriting software.
The Monumental Task of Tracking and Auditing Hard Drives for Erasure
The question becomes; how can you tell which computer hard drives have been successfully erased? Take a look at the picture to the left. These computers all contain hard drives that were to be erased. They were loaded onto a truck, shipped to the company for erasure, unloaded, palletized, transferred, moved, re-palletized. Did they all get erased? It is a difficult process to audit and leaves many hard drives full of information which ends up in a second hand market.
Erasing and Wiping Hard Drives Just Doesn’t Cut It Anymore
Assuming the hard drives do get erased, there is another problem. Current methods of erasure are not 100 percent accurate. Physical destruction of a device is the ultimate way to prevent others from retrieving your information. According to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, specialized services are available that will disintegrate, burn, melt, or pulverize your computer drive and other devices. These sanitization methods are designed to completely destroy the media.
High Price for Second Hand Hard Drives Creates a Conflict of Interest
Used hard drives are attractive to buyers because they are often hundreds of dollars less than their new counterparts. In today’s market, a used hard drive can bring in an average of $30 – $50 each, quite attractive to sellers. This creates two problems; 1) Erasure companies may, in haste, do a poor job of erasing or wiping hard drives to get them sold and 2) Employees also realize the potential earnings and may find it easy to walk out with the small drives and sell them on their own. In either scenario, the potential for personal information to end up in the wrong hands is quite substantial.
Leave Nothing to Chance
With state and federal laws changing on what businesses must do to protect consumer information, hard drive shredding is the only way to ensure that your information is completely destroyed and you have taken every appropriate step to guarantee that destruction. A shredded hard drive is unreadable, information destroyed, and inaccessible to those searching for information. The choice seems easy if you want to be absolutely sure your information is protected.