Degaussing & Solid State Drives
Degaussing is a popular method of data destruction for traditional hard drives. A degausser works by generating a powerful magnetic field that alters the magnetic charges that store data on the drive. This will completely erase or randomize the data. Degaussing can be an effective method of data destruction on traditional electromagnetic drives, but it has drawbacks, especially when it comes to Solid State Drives (SSD).
Degaussing Won’t Work For SSDs
Solid State Drives use an electric charge to store data. Since an SSD does not store data magnetically, degaussing will have virtually no effect. This leaves you with two other options for drive sanitization; physical destruction or sanitization with software.
Physical Destruction – Pros & Cons
When properly shredded to a very small particle size, no data will be recoverable from an SSD. However, if the particle size is too large (and they often are), data can still be recovered. As SSD technology improves, the chips are getting smaller and smaller. Many times these chips can escape the shredder intact. To ensure physical destruction is done effectively, it is best to use a professional IT Asset company. This can become expensive. Disposing of destroyed drives usually means they end up in a landfill, which has an adverse environmental impact. Another drawback of physical destruction is the lack of proof and tracking of the drive’s sanitization in case of an audit. As the drive changes hands multiple times before it is finally destroyed, it can be difficult to ensure the drive’s data was not compromised somewhere along the way.
Software Sanitization With WipeDrive – Pros & Cons
Software sanitization with WipeDrive can wipe all data from an SSD for a fraction of the cost of physical destruction. WipeDrive uses the drive’s native commands (including ATA, SCSI and NVMe) to ensure all parts of the solid state drive are accessed and securely wiped. SSDs can be wiped without being sent out to a third party, reducing the time and number of people with access to sensitive data. With each wipe a report is created to give you a record of the drive being wiped. Sanitized drives can then be re-allocated or donated.
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