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DIY Hard Drive Disposal and Destruction? Think Again! Why This Job Should Be Left to the Pros

It’s time to retire your old trusty computer. You transfer all of your important files and documents to your new hard drive and are now ready to dispose of the old one.

Your first instinct is to destroy your hard drive yourself. Sure, you can destroy it but are you certain you’ll destroy and dispose of your old hard drive properly?

Hard drive disposal is an essential step in retiring an old computer or computer parts. Many people, however, don’t do a sufficient job when destroying their hard drives. Despite, the scratches, drill holes, and smash marks, a person could still hack your old hard drive and access any remaining files.

Instead of disposing of your hard drive by yourself, have you considered a professional hard drive disposal company? Here’s why you should avoid DIY hard drive disposal and have a professional help you instead!

The Purpose of Hard Drives

The hard drive is your computer’s storage device. This is where the computer stores the operating system, applications, programs, documents, photos, and more.

Hard drives come in a couple of different styles including a steady-state drive or SSD and a hard drive disk or HDD. HDDs require a spinning disk and take longer to retrieve data but can store more data compared to other hard drives. SSDs are typically the primary hard drive and can retrieve data faster than the HDD.

Most computers today come with an SSD hard drive. You can check current offers to learn more about today’s modern computers and laptops.

Many computer users today use both SSD and HDD. The SDD is for storing the operating system, large programs, and other software. The HDD is a secondary drive often used for storing documents, audio files, and downloads.

If you used both and are planning to retire them, you must destroy them properly. Improper disposal can leave any leftover sensitive data available to others who may use it maliciously.

Don’t DIY Destroy Your Hard Drive

Deleting sensitive files from the hard drive won’t eliminate the data. After deletion, data leaves trace data patterns that others can retrieve with the right hardware and software tools.

Are you still thinking you can do an effective job of destroying and disposing of your old hard drive? Here’s why you shouldn’t.

A few common DIY hard drive destruction methods include using a magnet, tossing the hard drive in a body of water, drilling holes, and shattering the hard drive with a hammer. Unfortunately, many of these methods fail to effectively destroy the hard drive and its data.

Many hard drives use a steel plate to protect the hard drive platter. Using an average magnet to destroy the data doesn’t often work.

Many items that people toss into a body of water end up along the banks or another person may retrieve them. The water rarely affects the data making it possible for someone to access your hard drive. This method is a form of littering and not environmentally friendly.

Physically damaging the hard drive a drill or hammer is sure to work, right? Aluminum hard drive platters are incredibly difficult to damage. It’s also possible to retrieve data from shattered glass and damaged aluminum platters.

If you think DIY hard drive disposal is an easy and surefire way to destroy your data, you’re unfortunately wrong. The best way to ensure your data is completely erased is by working with a hard drive disposal service.

What Is a Professional Hard Drive Disposal Service?

Hard drive disposal services are a group of professionals trained to properly and safely destroy your hard drive. They follow strict regulations and guidelines concerning data security and guarantee integrity.

Hard drive disposal services use industrial-grade shredders to effectively destroy and dispose of old hard drives. A shredder physically shreds the hard drive and makes it impossible to alter or access any data that was on it. This is a particularly good option for individuals and businesses who used their old computers to store sensitive data.

Other hard drive disposal services may melt, incinerate, or grind the hard drive until it’s no longer accessible.

Are there other ways of removing data from an old hard drive? Yes, many of which don’t require you to physically destroy the hard drive. This includes using powerful magnetic fields or data destruction software.

These other methods, however, don’t always guarantee the complete erasure of your data.

Benefits of Secure Hard Drive Disposal

The number one benefit of secure hard drive disposal is your data will be properly destroyed. No one will be able to access any of the data or documents on your old hard drive.

Choosing to work with a professional hard drive disposal service offers many more benefits worth checking out. If you still think DIY hard drive disposal is an option, perhaps these benefits will change your mind.

Ensure Your Data Is Secure

Reputable hard drive disposal services will destroy old hard drives in-house rather than sending them to a third party for disposal. Limiting the number of people and companies that come in contact with your hard drive improves security.

Many companies will offer you a tamper-proof container to store your hard drive. This is a quality security measure needed for anyone who might be mailing their old hard drive to the disposal company.

The staff working at the hard drive disposal service receive a high level of training in security and data destruction. Each employee undergoes security checks and background checks to ensure they are reliable and trustworthy.

Follow Legal Data Protection Requirements

There are many legal data protection requirements in place to ensure the security of sensitive information. These requirements and regulations include those disposing of hard drives.

In the United States, NAID or the National Association of Information Destruction sets the regulations and standards for proper destruction of data. Many states have their own state laws and codes regarding proper data disposal.

The type of data has may need to follow additional laws and regulations. Businesses, such as banks, insurance companies, hospitals, and other companies working with personal information must follow additional requirements. DIY hard drive disposal will not suffice for any business or individual working with sensitive and personal information.

Certificate of Disposal

In addition to these regulations, a hard drive disposal service should give you a certificate of destruction as proof. Some services may let a witness, such as yourself or an employee from your company watch the destruction of the hard drive.

You should note, the destruction and disposal of data is your responsibility, especially if you’re managing others’ sensitive information.

Never assume a hard drive disposal business properly disposed of your hard drives without documentation. This documentation or certification is a record of the destruction of the hard drive and includes items such as:

  • The date of disposal
  • Type of waste
  • You or your company’s name and contact information
  • The date the hard drive disposal company received the hard drive
  • Transaction number
  • Name and contact information of the hard drive disposal service
  • A signature verifying the collection and destruction of the hard drive

If you’re unsure if a hard drive disposal company offers a certificate of disposal, you should ask about it before working with that company. Only have your hard drives destroyed by a reputable company that offers proof of disposal.

An Environmentally Friendly Solution

Hard drive disposal services follow additional regulations to ensure their disposal methods are environmentally friendly. Many of these services follow electronic recycling methods to ensure their practices are environmentally friendly. This practice prevents pollution and potential health hazards.

After the shredding process, many hard drive disposal companies will recycle the parts as raw materials. This process allows for the production of new metals and plastics from the old materials.

Besides receiving a certificate of disposal, you may also receive a certificate of recycling. This is a more environmentally friendly solution compared to destroying your hard drive by yourself and tossing it in the garbage.

Cheaper in the Long Run

How much does a hard drive disposal service cost? The answer depends on the type of data in need of destroying and the number of hard drives.

You shouldn’t let the cost of hard drive disposal deter you. A professional disposal service will guarantee the safe and effective destruction of your hard drives. Many places charge around $5 to $10 per hard drive.

While professional hard drive disposal costs money, it’s much cheaper than having to deal with a potential data breach. If someone does access the data on an old disposed hard drive, they can access login information, personal information, and more. Some of which they can use to hack your current system.

Fixing a security breach can cost thousands of dollars and hours, if not days, worth of work time. Have a professional destroy your old hard drives for you to ensure your data remains safe.

Always Invest in Professional Hard Drive Disposal

Many people think DIY hard drive disposal will save you time and money. Unless you have the training and certification to professionally dispose of hard drives, you should leave this hard drive disposal to the professionals. This will guarantee your data remains safe.

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