Both household and business users should be acutely aware of the necessity to protect our personal data. We should be extremely diligent in managing essential data and thoroughly destroying essential data that we no longer need. Identity thefts have become a big business for many hackers and there are even people who rummage through our trash at night to steal our essential documents. There are regulations and rules we should do to protect our essential information. Companies should adhere to rules related to the disposal of essential data, while household users could safely rely on consumer level data elimination solutions. In some cases, companies may need to face significant fine if they are unable to comply with these regulations. In some cases, eliminating information through software-based methods isn’t enough and we need to physically erase it.
One of the most reliable ways to eliminate data in our hard drive is by degaussing it. This will physically remove the information. In general, degaussing is about using magnetic field to saturate the media with sufficient intensity. When the magnetic field is withdrawn, the hard drive plates will be left in a neutral state and all trace of data is erased. Servo is part of program in hard drive and it could also be erased using degaussing methods. Degaussing could simply render any hard drive media useless and this is particularly important, because just erasing files in our hard drives will leave large portions of them intact. It is possible for hackers to recover these deleted files with special software, so it is essential to degauss hard drives to make sure that all traces of digital information are removed completely.
We may need to consider that present hard drives are much larger and in some cases, we may need to degauss a nearly full 2TB of hard drives. It means that previous degaussing method may not be suitable for newer hard drive models. Depending on our company, degaussing equipment could be considered as a capital expenditure and it could depreciate over a few years. Degaussers with higher capacity could be more expensive, but they could be necessary when we need to deal with large-capacity hard drives. In fact, degaussing a high-capacity hard drive with low-cost degausser could equal to asking for a heart transplant with only first aid kit. Early degaussers are quite affordable, because they only need to deal with low-capacity storage media, such as floppy disks. They are based on ferric oxide, which can be erased rather easily.
On the other hand, modern hard drives are based on metal particle oxide and they can be harder to erase. For faster degaussing time, it may be necessary to use machines with continuous degaussing and this will increase the overall costs. It may be necessary to reallocate a portion of our IT budge for high-end degaussing machines that can allow us to perform the task much faster and reliably. We should be aware that the cost of degaussing machine can be much less than the costs of unexpected security breaches.