What to Do with Drives Returned to Data Server Builders

January 6, 2018 at 2:48 pm by SEM

In a recent meeting with a company that builds custom data servers, they had a dilemma. What to do with the hard drives that contain data when a customer returns a failed server for a factory repair?

Each of their servers can have anywhere from 2-8 drives in them. They had been using an outside destruction service to come and destroy the returned drives once they were finished with them, but they were starting to get the feeling that this was not the most secure process and figured there had to be a more secure way. So their question to me was “What is the most responsible way to destroy their customers returned to factory hard drives?”

They wanted me to provide them some suggestions of different ways to destroy their media. In the Government, there are very specific guidelines on how to effectively eliminate data on virtually all forms of media, from paper to hard drives. However, in the commercial world, guidelines are more by industry, and not always exact. As such, here are a few suggestions for the commercial businesses on ways to effectively eliminate data on failed HDDs.

DEGAUSSING is the most effective method of erasing data on magnetic media like HDDs and data tapes. If you are trying to erase unclassified (CUI) or sensitive data, The SEM EMP1000-HS is a powerful commercially sold degausser with a power at 16,000 gauss (1.6 Tesla), erasing the highest coercivity magnetic media available today without the use of any adapters.

If you have drives that have classified data the SEM EMP1000-HS will also take care of those. This unit has been evaluated by the NSA for classified information erasure. When degaussing with this solution, you are ensured that all the data has been erased in accordance with the guidelines set forth by the National Security Agency. Note that classified data will also have to be physically destroyed, as discussed in this next section.

PHYSICAL DESTRUCTION is another method of destroying HDDs. While data is not erased, the drive itself is physically damaged making it inoperable. The SEM 0101 Hard Drive Crusher is an entry level device that bends and punches a hole into the drive. It can destroy standard HDDs and up to six laptop drives in one 8 second cycle.

SEM Model 0101

A level up from that for physical destruction would be an SEM HDD shredder like the SEM Model 0300 HDD Shredder. This machine shreds the drive down to a particle of 1.5 providing a higher level of security. These methods physically destroy the media making them inoperable.

So if you have drives returned to a site that need to be destroyed, consider using equipment to do it right in house. At SEM, we’re here to help with any volume, budget, or location and we’re just a click away! Contact us today to learn what solutions would be best for your company to keep your data and your customers data safe and secure.