Why is secure data erasure so important for a company?

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The modern era of huge technological advancement brings with it multiple benefits for businesses across all sectors. It allows for faster operating systems, slicker communication and enables the storage of mass data in a fraction of the space.

However, it also poses plenty of challenges – not least data security. When it comes to upgrading hardware or changing locations, companies are often left with a number of unwanted computer assets. Rather than selling those on or leaving them in storage, it’s imperative that they take the appropriate steps to protect the data that is held within those assets.

Otherwise, businesses risk falling foul of GDPR, which could lead to major fines and penalties, not to mention massive reputational damage. Simply deleting the data may not be enough as it could still be recovered, which is why many organisations use secure data destruction services in order to ensure the strictest protocols have been followed. But what is data erasure, how does it differ from deletion, and why is it so important?

What is data erasure?

Data erasure is where information is removed from a device to the point where it can no longer be recovered. It leaves the physical asset intact, which is where erasure differs slightly from data destruction. Through destruction, the devices are physically destroyed – usually by either shredding or degaussing – but this method is not always environmentally friendly. With erasure, however, there is the potential for the device to be reused once it has been wiped.

What is the difference between erasure and deletion?

In everyday language, these two terms would be used interchangeably. When it comes to data, however, there is a very important distinction that businesses have to be aware of. When data is simply deleted, it remains recoverable, which could expose organisations to a range of security breaches. Data erasure, meanwhile, is a permanent procedure that means the information can no longer be accessed.

Why is data erasure so important?

There have been several cases of high-profile data breaches in the recent past. One example occurred in Japan in 2019 when hard disk drives containing personal information were discarded by the Kanagawa prefectural government. They were supposed to be disposed of by an information equipment recycling firm, only for an employee from that company to sell them in an online auction.

Breaches such as these pose a huge risk to the financial and reputational wellbeing of organisations. Falling foul of the regulations can have serious consequences for a business’ short and long-term future, while failing to follow proper data erasure procedures also has the potential to negatively impact the environment.

That’s why companies have to do everything in their power to ensure it is done correctly, which for many will mean enlisting the services of qualified IT disposal specialists.