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Knowing when to destroy is the key to better document safety

by on May 10, 2013

There many threats that can impact the data center at any given moment. These include losses, thefts, power outages, hackings, internal errors and many more problems, but companies need to be prepared for all of them. One of the best ways to do this is to ensure that information is destroyed in a timely fashion. It may seem counterintuitive to protect data by eviscerating it, but sometimes cutting up tapes or erasing outdated hard disks isn't just a good idea, it's the law.

Learning the retention ropes
Federal compliance guidelines require that businesses maintain their files for a set number of years, but only for that period. Business 2 Community wrote that it's the responsibility of the owning firm to know when hard disks and backup tapes need to be wiped, smashed or recycled. This process helps companies in a variety of ways by freeing up room in the data center and avoiding costly federal fines. That is, so long as the devices are wiped entirely.

There are cases where a business has wiped it magnetic tapes or disks and resold them to certified second-hand or recycling centers for retail distribution and the information previously contained therein was still readable. Improper degaussing or sanitation practices can easily result in such a scenario, so businesses must carefully review their devices before offering them up for further internal use or external sale. Even reusing such a drive in the company's own data center can cause a non-compliance scenario for owning organizations.

Understanding destruction essentials
If companies aren't sure what kind of storage destruction they're using, it's time for them to review their backup tape management guidelines. Degaussing requires passing tapes or disk drives through a powerful magnetic field, ensuring the devices will never be able to reassemble a file. Degaussing with a strong enough magnet will keep the drives from ever working again. On the other hand, firms may prefer to use sanitization, a process by which information is overwritten until no trace of the original documents exists.

Regardless of what method an organization uses, ensuring that files are totally destroyed in a timely fashion is the best way to make certain that the business is protected. As Business 2 Community stated, data retention is up to the owning entity, as is proper destruction. The life span of a document or disk may be dictated by more than just internal interests, so keeping up with compliance changes is also critical.

New:Fri, 10 May 2013 16:21:06 -0400

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