Securely wipe data off of hard drive devices prior to redeployment
As mentioned in Top 10 Information Security Items Your Business Needs to Do Now, when you plan to get rid of old computers, servers, network devices, portable storage (like USB drives) and printers your job is not yet done. These devices will walk out the door with sensitive company information on them if you do not put in place proper measures to sanitize them prior to removing them.
When you are eliminating an electronic device and wish to secure sensitive data, simply deleting files or formatting the drive is not sufficient to secure your sensitive data. Short of physical destruction of the disk itself, which is often not a viable option if you lease or wish to donate it to charity, utilizing disk wiping technology is the preferred method for safely removing data. Listed below are several disk wiping technologies with recommended products to assist with this important security process.
Recommended commercially available hard drive / disk wiping software:
#1 – WipeDrive PRO
This industry leading software is trusted and used by the Department of Defense who literally wrote the book on disk wiping requirements. In addition WipeDrive PRO is an approved compliance wipe disk tool for regulations such as HIPAA, Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, Sarbanes-Oxley Act, The Patriot Act, Identity Theft and the Assumption Deterrence Act. Supports all PC and Mac Computers and can also wipe external hard drives, thumb drives, memory cards, iPods & other external media.
#2 – Acronis Drive Cleanser
Is compliant with DoD standards and supports the majority of Windows and Unix Operating Systems that your small business is operating. Friendly menu driven software is easy to install and operate and comes pre-loaded with all of the standard algorithims you may wish to use.
Recommended free hard drive / disk wiping software for personal or business use:
Disk Wipe – Tool is free of annoying adware and is a fully functional disk wiping utility that also works on portable drives and other media like SD cards. My favorite of the freebies.
Eraser – Works with any Windows based drive and suports most of the common wiping methods described already.
DBAN – Last of the big 3 no cost solutions is another strong option for handling disk wiping needs on a budget.
All of the above product recommendations are for Windows based devices. If you are utilizing Apple Mac’s I recommend utilizing WhiteCanyon’s WipeDrive for Mac
Hard Drive wiping tips:
- Configure the setting for number of disk wiping passes for a minimum of 3X to ensure the data is sufficiently overwritten. The setting could be set much higher but any greater then 7X does not add much to security and will add a lot of time to the process.
- Disk Wiping can take a lot of time depending on your configuration option so usage of a concurrent license option is recommended if you are dealing with large volumes of devices.
- Review the completion log to ensure the wiping completed 100% successfully
- If you choose to use one of the free options I recommend using a “stable” vs. “beta/preview” builds to minimize your likelihood of encountering errors.
- If your business must comply with a certain regulations like HIPAA it is safer to go with commercial products that have certified their products to comply with a particular standard vs. freely available products that often do not.
Leased Equipment Tips
- Ensure your lease agreement covers the vendor securely wiping your device whether it is a pc, server, printer, or network device. This will likely come with an extra fee associated with it but unless you are certain disclosure of the data would not cause you harm it is worth the piece of mind.
- The typical cost per device for a lease company to wipe the drive ranges from $20-50$ depending on the company.
- It is not wise to attempt to cleanse a leased device yourself without discussing with the vendor ahead of time and making sure it will not potentially violate your lease agreement.