What Is A Solid State Drive?Before solid state drives were introduced, HDDs were the norm. These traditional hard disk drives use platters that spin to allow data access—a mechanical process that is slower and more prone to failure than SSDs. Solid state drives store memory in a chip format like a smartphone or USB drive. They are called “solid state” because they lack moving parts. The data stored on an SSD can be accessed at higher speeds, better serving the needs of large data centers and server arrays.
How Are SSDs Used In Enterprise Data Centers?Most large data centers are somewhere in the process of converting to SSDs. Solid state external hard drives are still used in combination with HDDs in many data centers, requiring different protocols for data erasure. A solid state drive in a laptop or mobile device also requires erasure before destruction, repurposing, or resale.
How Data Destruction Changes For SSDsSolid state drives are more difficult to sanitize with traditional methods. Your data management plan should include specific instructions for proper erasure methods for the new technology as it is phased into use to prevent unauthorized data recovery after destruction, donation, or sale at the end of its life.
- Degaussing. This method of using magnetic fields to destroy data on HDDs will not work on most solid state devices. The interconnected memory chip structure of a solid state drive is not sensitive to magnets, making degaussing ineffective for secure data destruction on SSDs.
- Cryptographic Erasure. This method simply deletes the encryption security keys, making the data inaccessible. It does not permanently destroy the data, and sensitive information can still be recovered if the encryption is broken, making cryptographic erasure unsuitable for enterprise-level data destruction.
- Physical Destruction. The shredding or crushing of hard drives is a process designed for HDDs. Because the data storage on solid state drives is much smaller, normal shred sizes may leave pieces large enough for information to be recovered. SSDs must be shredded to a smaller particle size.
- Software Data Destruction. Using a certified software data erasure system will overwrite the existing data on an SSD or HDD. By filling the solid state drive with meaningless information, the existing data is unrecoverable. For enterprise data centers that want to use only one process for data destruction, this method will work reliably for both old and new technology.