Protecting Confidential Data When Disposing or Recycling Hard Drives

21 Jun, 2013 by  Mike LoRusso

A common problem many financial or technology companies face today is how to ensure that confidential data is protected when disposing of or recycling hard drives. Environmental protection is also a concern. There are two ways to dispose of drives that will meet the required safety standards:
1. Onsite Data Recycling

Degaussing is one way to perform your data sanitization process. It involves erasing the data using a degaussing machine equipped with magnetic tapes. It can be performed in-house -- a smaller unit can process about 150 hard drives per hour. The major drawback is that the drives remain intact and there is no simple way to test the efficacy of the degaussing process. Moreover, the tapes still need to be disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner.
Many financial institutions do not solely trust the degaussing process and choose hard drive shredding instead. In fact, Quick often provides services of degaussing and then onsite shredding of the hard drives, followed by the transport of the destroyed drives to the recycling facility.


Shredding of the hard drives is performed by the drive destruction machine built into the 24 foot truck that can be parked next to your facility. The drives are fed into the machine, where they are pulled between the teeth of interlocking gears to be crushed and ground. The shreds of raw material are then transported to the recycling facility. Although the onsite shredding provides high level of security since you can witness the drives being destroyed, it is also the most expensive data recycling option.

2. Offsite Data Recycling

The preferred choice of many data centers and financial institution is the offsite data recycling. It is highly secure and about half as expensive as the onsite mobile shredding.

This option involves transporting hard drives to the recycling facility using Chain of Custody Logistics (you can learn more about COC on our blog post: Shipping Data Securely - Chain of Custody Logistics.) Each Chain of Custody shipment of drives starts with preparing a COC manifest. The drives are then securely transported by an experienced logistics provider to a specialized recycling plant, either R2 facility (Responsible Recycle) or a Recycler with the ISO 14001 Certification. Before shredding, each drive is signed off on the manifest. After the process is complete, the recycler issues the Certificate of Destruction that ties into the COC manifest. Your Certificate of Destruction should include the serial numbers of the shredded drives.

Offsite Data Recycling requires experienced logistics partner with proven Chain of Custody Logistics services.

About Mike LoRusso
VP and General Manager Technology Logistics, New York, NY

For over 20 years, Michael has provided logistics expertise to the technology and financial industries. He is focused on delivering quality and cost-effective logistic solutions for his... Read more.

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