Hard Drive Recycling and Destruction

Hard Drive Recycling and Destruction

Companies with sensitive data should always establish clear policies for storage media disposal. There are two choices available when a storage media is no longer needed.

Hard Drive Recycling and Destruction

The media can either be:

  • Recycled – Hard drives that have been wiped can be reused in other computers. The drive can be reformatted, and a new operating system installed. Two types of formatting can be performed as described in the figure.
  • Destroyed – Destroying the hard drive fully ensures that data cannot be recovered from a hard drive. Specifically designed devices such as hard drive crushers, hard drive shredders, incinerators, and more can be used for large volumes of drives. Otherwise physically damaging the drive with a hammer is effective.

A company may choose an outside contractor to destroy their storage media. These contractors are typically bonded and follow strict governmental regulations. They may also offer a certificate of destruction to provide evidence that the media has been completely destroyed.

The image describes methods of hard drive recycling and destruction. Low-level format definition, the surface of the disk is marked with sector markers identifying tracks where the data will be physically stored on the disk. Most often performed at the factory after the hard drive is assembled. Standard format definition, also called high-level formatting. Process creates a boot sector and a file system. A standard format can only be performed after a low-level format has been completed.

Securing a Computer

Computers and workstations should be secured from theft. This is a standard practice in a company as computers are typically secured in locked rooms.

To prevent unauthorized users from stealing or accessing local computers and network resources, lock your workstation, laptop, or server when you are not present. This includes physical security as well as password security.

If you must leave a computer in an open public area, cable locks should be used to deter theft.

Data displayed on your computer screen should also be protected. This is especially true when using a laptop in a public location such as an airport, coffee house, or customer site. Use a privacy screen to protect the information displayed on your laptop screen from prying eyes. A privacy screen is a clear plastic panel attached to the computer screen that only permits the user in front of the screen to see the information displayed.

Access to your computer must also be protected. There are three levels of password protection that can be used on a computer as described in the figure.

The image describes Three Types of Password Protection. BIOS password prevents the operating system from booting and changing BIOS settings. Login password prevents unauthorized access to the local computer. Network password prevents access to network resources by unauthorized personnel.

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