What is physical data destruction and when to use it

Data destruction is a process of destroying data stored on hard drives, solid-state drives, tapes and other forms of electronic media. The goal is to make data unreadable regardless of the form of electronic media on which it was originally stored. The process of data destruction also includes ensuring that this data cannot be recovered and used by an unauthorized person.

Physical vs non-physical data destruction

Physical Data Destruction means all hard disk drives (HDDs) or any other storage media containing your vital information will be physically destroyed. Most people believe that drilling holes into hard drives themselves is a process sufficient enough. And in some cases, it might be. From our experience, even the most enthusiastic yet untrained driller can miss the data. That’s why we recommend using professionals to ensure your data are 100% destroyed.

At Total Green, we use this 37kW shredder for off-site destruction for our clients.

For on-site destruction at client’s destinations, we use this custom modified mobile drilling station which is well suited for smaller quantities of hard drives as well as mobile devices.

 

Non-Physical Data Destruction means using licensed technology to ensure complete destruction without destroying the value of the hardware.

At Total Green, we use Blancco which is widely recognised as the most accredited erasure solution on the market today. This can be done both onsite and offsite and is the superior option today. It produces high quality, verifiable chain of custody reports which include information on the final point of disposition for data bearing devices and internal data storage media.

In other words, each erasure comes with a serialised report which can be used to verify and prove that all data has been completely erased.

When to choose Physical data destruction

Typically government organisations and some private companies that have specific company policy and requirements to physically destroy HDDs or storage media may request this type of data destruction.
We only recommend physical destruction when non-physical destruction is not possible due to various reasons.
For example when:

  • HDD is old and cannot be wiped using Blancco Certified data erasure.
  • HDD is broken and cannot be wiped using Blancco non-physical software erasure.
  • Data is stored on other old fashioned media such as VHS tape which cannot be wiped using Blancco.
  • Mobile phone device is iCloud locked for example with Find My iPhone (FMIP) or Android Lock which prevents the phone from being reused. Even if it’s in perfect working condition.

What are the advantages vs disadvantages of physical data destruction?

Pros:

  • Physical destruction can be used to destroy data on damaged, old fashioned or broken data storage media.
  • The possibility that someone can recreate or recover data from a disk or drive that’s been physically destroyed is next to zero. (Well, pretty much zero.)
  • It can be done on-site at any requested location as well as off-site in our facility.
  • It can be an easy way to satisfy disposal policy requirements when the alternative options may still be unclear.

Cons:

  • HDDs are destroyed which means they can not be refurbished and reused. Value of HDD when reused is more than the value of material recovered by shredding. It unnecessarily destroys economic value and can drive up the costs associated with disposal and end of life management of your devices.
  • Physical destruction of mobile devices is often MUCH more expensive than non-physical destruction. It also destroys a tremendous amount of embodied energy value.
  • Reuse is generally at least 25 times better for our environment than recycling.

What type of physical data destruction does TGR provide?

In our state-of-the-art facility in Canning Vale, we provide 5 different types of data destruction services:

  1. Off-site serialized data destruction service which means the physical data destruction process will take place in the Total Green Recycling facility. Before we destroy the HDDs we validate all serial numbers so we can then report back to the customer once the job is completed.
  2. On-site serialized data destruction service without photographic evidence. This means the physical data destruction process will take place at yours (client’s) location. Before the HDDs are destroyed the serial number of the HDDs are validated and reported back to the client once the job is completed.
  3. On-site serialized data destruction service with photographic evidence. This means the physical data destruction process will take place at yours (client’s) location. Before the HDDs are destroyed the serial numbers of the HDDs are validated and detailed before/after pictures of hard drives taken by our team. These are then provided to a client once the job is completed.
  4. Off-site physical data destruction via our shredder with a viewing option for our client to observe the drives being physically destroyed.
  5. On-site physical data destruction via our mobile driller with a viewing option for our client to observe the drives being physically destroyed.

Materials suitable for shredding:

  • Computer Hard Drives
  • LTO Tape Drives
  • Other sensitive data storage media plastic products

old mobile phonesPhysical destruction of mobile phones

Mobile devices are physically dismantled to locate and destroy the storage media. Phones cannot be simply shredded directly as many phones today contain integrated batteries that need to be first removed by hand before the phone can be properly destroyed. For certain device models, this can be a very labour intensive process.

To request a full price list please contact our Customer service team via this contact us form or fill in this free quote form.

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