Importance of Data Destruction in Cybersecurity

Importance of Data Destruction in Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is not all about safeguarding data, as some people may think. It is also about data destruction, which is a key part of any organization’s cybersecurity policy and practice. This article talks about data destruction and the importance of data destruction in cybersecurity.

What is data destruction?

Data destruction refers to the process of destroying stored data. The traditional data destruction examples include shredding or incinerating documents when they are no longer needed. However, in the digital age, data destruction methods have changed a lot.

Today, data destruction involves the complete annihilation of information stored on tapes, hard disks, and other forms of electronic media, to make it completely unreadable and inaccessible for unauthorized purposes. There are three main ways through which data destruction can be done:

Degaussing

In this method, data is destroyed using specialized, high-powered magnets. This method only works on data storage devices that use magnets. The degaussing process destroys the drive because it damages the magnetic storage system, so it is not a suitable process for those who want to reuse the drive.

Physical destruction

In this method, the storage device is destroyed in a manner that makes it impossible to reconstruct. This makes any data that was stored in the device unretrievable forever. The process can include incineration, crushing, or shredding the drives. Just like in degaussing, the drive cannot be reused after being physically destructed.

Overwriting

Data destruction is not the same as deleting the data. To destroy data using the overwriting method, they erase the existing data by overwriting it with new data. To do so, they use data destruction software. The software overwrites the available space with random data until it becomes irretrievable. Overwriting is the most cost-effective technique of data destruction since it doesn’t destroy the drive.

Why is data destruction important?

Running any business depends on electronic devices. The data generated in the company should be securely protected. When the data reaches its end of life, it also needs to be destroyed securely. If you don’t know why data destruction is important, consider your secure information falling into the hands of a competitor. While the release of trade secrets can be devastating to any business, your data is under constant threat from hackers who hold your data for ransom money, corporate espionage, and fraudsters.

Many companies have secret information they don’t want anyone to get ahold of. Moreover, companies are legally required to ensure data destruction is conducted correctly. There are standards within the industry that anyone should follow to protect themselves as well as their clients.

While it seems like data destruction is an easy task, some businesses, government agencies, and individuals who deal with sensitive data do not know how to carry out data destruction to the standards. Studies show that 10% of all hard drives sold secondhand on the internet, still contain personal information. However, it is not just individuals who forget to destroy their data carefully. Britain’s National Health Service Trust was fined about $500,000 in 2012 because it sold electronic devices online that still contained access to patients’ records.

Data destruction in cyber security

A lot of data held by businesses can be used to threaten their online systems. The personal information of the employees can also be used to copy authorized personnel online. Information on the online security protocols can be used for compromising the cybersecurity of your business. Even worse, people can use the personal information of clients and employees to steal their identities to threaten their finances.

If you own a business, data destruction is the most effective way to prevent your data from falling into the wrong hands. Data destruction is more important when you intend to decommission your equipment, especially if you will resell or recycle the equipment.