Securely wipe data off of hard drive devices prior to redeployment

How to securely wipe hard drive data

Securely wipe data off of hard drive devices prior to redeployment

About Us

My professional career consists of over 12 years of experience in the IT Audit, Security, and Operations disciplines for a Fortune 500 company. One of my primary value adds in those positions has been to bridge the gap between IT and the business and help make sure policies and security controls are both cost effective and useful for the business (not just security for security sake). My educational background in Finance & Business Management are a big benefit in this endeavor and help keep me focused on the end result which is ensuring that business can continue to operate with acceptable security controls necessary to support on-going operations.

Information Security HQ has been created to help small businesses and individuals with advanced security needs ensure they are properly protected against the many threats that could jeopardize their ongoing success.

Getting Started


Protect your laptops, desktops, and servers

Your companies laptops, desktops, and servers are likely critical for most of your major business processes from customer management to invoicing, accounting, and payroll.

Educate your employees about information security

A company may spend a significant portion of its revenue on information security but if it’s end-users have not been properly educated all of that can be easily defeated by a crafty intruder.

Online Banking Security

Online banking is convenient and can be a real productivity enhancer for individuals and businesses alike.
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:

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.
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.
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.
Works with any Windows based drive and suports most of the common wiping methods described already.
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 How to securely wipe hard drive data

Hard Drive wiping tips:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Review the completion log to ensure the wiping completed 100% successfully
  4. 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.
  5. 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

  1. 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.
  2. The typical cost per device for a lease company to wipe the drive ranges from $20-50$ depending on the company.
  3. 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.