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With so many businesses going ‘paperless’ and relying on digital versions of documents and data, alongside physical documents, data destruction is far more than simply shredding sensitive or private information. 

 As the digital age develops, the amount of data held on digital devices can be astounding. As they aren’t physical documents taking up office space, it can be surprising just how much confidential information is stored about a business. Even small businesses could be storing a wealth of data in need of management, protection or destruction. 

What is data destruction?

The process to destroy data is more complex than just shredding physical documents or deleting documents and then emptying the virtual trash. 

Data destruction may be required when information is no longer needed, but is still confidential, like customer information, or when there are legal lengths of time that data can be held for. It should also be considered when upgrading or replacing I.T. equipment. Ensuring the secure and safe disposal of electrical equipment, like tablets, computers or other digital devices, includes removing any historic or current data stored on them.  

Why is data destruction important? 

Managing your physical and digital data disposal is central to data protection. Data security has become increasingly more concerning with the advancement of technology. There have been many reported cases of companies suffering from data leaks. This can negatively impact brand reputation and confidence from clients and customers. 

Aside from this, there are several legal requirements and responsibilities expected from businesses when it comes to keeping data secure and protected. With increased awareness of GDPR, data destruction is important for compliance. 

How can you destroy data? 

Data destruction means getting rid of documents and files and making sure they are fully destroyed, unable to be restored. There are a number of ways to do this and they can be broken down into two main areas – physical and non-physical. 

Destroying physical data 

For paper documents, shredding is still a good starting point, though to ensure full destruction it can be advised to incinerate the remains. 

Other physical matter, such as hard drives, even after they have been wiped of digital data (see below), will need to be destroyed. This can include crushing or degaussing, which is a process that uses specialised, high-powered magnets to destroy data. 

Destroying digital data 

Unfortunately, deleting doesn’t mean destroying. So, ensuring that digital data is securely erased, wiped or purged, will mean that this data isn’t floating in a cloud or server somewhere, at risk of being restored. 

 Another method of destruction is overwriting data. This permanently erases existing data and replaces it with something new, and it also extends the life of the digital device, as it does not physically destroy it.

While some of these, like shredding, can be performed by businesses, many of the other processes need assistance. At PriorityWEEE, we are leaders in data destruction and e-waste management, so you can trust that your data will be safely, securely and sustainably managed. 

Contact Priority WEEE today to find out more about secure data destruction.