Destroying Confidential Consumer Data
Businesses in industries such as healthcare and finance have a legal obligation to protect sensitive consumer data. Keeping consumer identities safe doesn’t just require shredding paper; good data management processes take electronic records into account. All files and transmissions of information should be encrypted, and when you no longer need the information stored on a device or hard-drive, the business should have a process in place to destroy the device in keeping with regulations from the Federal Trade Commission and National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Options for Destroying Electronic Data
There are three ways to erase or destroy electronic data. You can erase files, which is not the same as deleting them using your computer’s delete-file function. Deleted data can almost always be recovered, but some software providers offer programs that are supposed to erase data completely. Some companies also use degaussing, which involves using a strong magnet to erase data on hard drives and disks. According to experts, both of these methods can leave data recoverable to hackers, so complete destruction of the device or drive is recommended.
Shredding Hard Drives for Data Management
Professional shredding services can handle more than paper. Industrial shredding processes can destroy electronic media, including hard drives for computers and copy machines, CDs and external disk drives, thumb and flash drives, microfiche, video tapes, DVDs, cassette tapes, credit cards, and even some prototypes.
Complete destruction is an important data management step for healthcare, banking, and other regulated organizations. In healthcare, for example, patient information on electronic media that will not longer be used and secured must be destroyed in a manner that makes it impossible for the data to ever be retrieved again.
Do you shred as part of your data management efforts?