5 Types of Data Destruction Methods

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5 Types of Data Destruction Methods

A data breach is the worst thing that can happen to your organization. It can kill trust and lead to lost revenue. Data destruction is a standard security procedure, and there are several ways you can do it.

Standardized data destruction methods include shredding, incineration, physical destruction, pulverizing, degaussing, and wiping. You may also hire the services of a third-party data destruction company when necessary. Also, consider removing cloud backups of your data.

Data destruction isn’t only a security precaution. It’s a normal part of the business. For tips for destroying data safely, keep reading.

Before You Proceed With Data Destruction

At some point, you’ll need to perform end-of-life data destruction. You also need to destroy the physical storage devices that contain your sensitive data.

At some point, you’ll need to perform end-of-life data destruction. Furthermore, you might need to destroy the physical storage devices that contain your sensitive data.

Some of these laws prevent data destruction. Instead, you might need to store it.

So, you might need to have some data destruction protocols in place.

These laws also require you to destroy data in a particular manner. You can’t trash them, for example.

When criminals target your organization, they have no problem going through the dumpster to salvage your storage devices.

Your sensitive data falling in the wrong hands is the last thing you want.

You might think about reusing these storage devices instead of throwing them away. In that case, you need to wipe them clean.

Old data making a come back on new systems isn’t always a pleasant experience.

1. Use A Paper Shredder

The first and simplest data destruction method is using a paper shredder.

Don’t throw top-secret documents in the trash. Again, bad actors are willing to go through the garbage to steal any data they can use against you.

Thus, you might want to consider fencing and locking the dumpster area for security.

You should also have a document shredding policy in place. And all your employees must know it by heart and teach it to new employees.

Keep in mind that stubborn lawbreakers might collect the shredded parts from the trash and put them together like a puzzle. So, make sure you use a powerful paper shredder.

2. Set It Ablaze

Incineration is another data destruction method that you can use.

Many governments burn sensitive data to prevent criminals from stealing them.

Once you burn your documents, there’s no going back. So, ensure that the data is safe to burn because you won’t need them later.

You can do it yourself by having an outdoor fire pit where you dispose of these documents.

3. Recycle It

Another method of complete data destruction is recycling the paper.

You can do it by putting the documents in a large container and pouring water and bleach (aka pulping).

It’s a method that separates the ink from the paper and turns it to its original state.

Then, you can use the pulp to create new papers for your use.

4. Destroy It, Literally

There are three rules regarding destroying physical data storage devices: 1) Don’t recycle. 2) Don’t stockpile.

The common practice of destroying hard drives is shredding or pulverizing.

Simply put, you use a specialized machine to crush them and destroy the stored data on them.

You can also use a drill or hammer to destroy them by physical force. That way, they become unreadable.

Physical destruction is best for solid-state drive (SSD), phones, CDs, USB sticks, memory cards, etc.

And it also works for optical media.

5. Use Hard Drive Degausser

For magnetic drives, you might want to use a degausser.

Degaussing refers to generating an electromagnetic shock wave that removes the data. It also sabotages the electronic components of the device.

Optionally, you can incinerate the device after degaussing to ensure total data destruction.

Tips Before You Hire A Data Destruction Service

Data destruction is a big business, which means you don’t have to do your data destruction yourself.

When you don’t have the time, experience, or equipment to perform data destruction safely, you may want to hire a data destruction specialist.

They can do all the shredding, pulverizing, and degaussing on your behalf.

These companies will provide you with a certification of destruction. That way, you have proof of the data destruction in case you get into legal trouble.

However, working with a third party may come with some risks. So, you want to make sure that your data destruction partner is NSA-evaluated.

Some of them will provide on-site data destruction. In that case, you can watch and verify the destruction process.

Most of all, the third rule of destroying physical data storage devices is never to give clean data to a third party.

Perhaps, damage the devices yourself and let the third party finish the job. At the very least, encrypt or corrupt the data in some way or another.

If it’s paper documents, soak them in water or throw ink on them.

Data Sanitization Tips

Data sanitization is convenient when you want to wipe clean your drives for reuse or before handing them to a third party.

So, data destruction isn’t always about destroying data.

In some cases, you need to purge or sanitize the data rather than destroy it.

A piece of software like ShredIt from Mireth Technology can help you erase a hard drive. You can also use it to wipe particular files.

Jetico also offers world-class data encryption and data wiping solutions.

Cloud Data Destruction

The data destruction isn’t complete until you erase the files from the cloud. If you created backups of your data and stored them with a cloud storage service, make sure you erase those as well.

Since you don’t own the physical infrastructure, you may want to contact your cloud service provider to erase the data.


Don’t leave a backdoor open for criminals to sneak in and steal your data. Not only you’ll lose your customers’ trust, but they also might sue you.

Poor data destruction practices put your organization at risk, so make sure you follow those data destruction methods to stay safe.

With a plethora of data destruction methods at your disposal, there’s no excuse for following bad data destruction practices.

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