Secure Data Erasure Management with Hosted Erase

Wednesday, January 4, 2017 by Kathrin Brekle

Revelations of data leaks are now part of the daily business news.  Whether large Internet providers or telecommunications companies or the customer database of a global player are affected - the statistics show alarming figures regarding the frequency and success of cyber attacks and attacks on sensitive information from illegal data collectors.  This increases the pressure on large corporations and companies that are obligated to protect and prevent their electronic information and have from falling into the hands of unauthorized third parties or even to the public.

Secure data deletion – a compulsory program for companies

Data erasure is an important issue for enterprises when it comes to protecting both company and company data, as well as personal and business data, from unauthorized access.  Companies, regardless of size, should have a sophisticated data erasure plan in place as well as professional and reliable data erasure methods to prevent data from getting into the wrong hands.

Archived legacy data must also be considered

Long-term archived legacy data can also be of value for criminal attacks. When old hard disks or tapes have to be discarded, you should make sure that these have been physically destroyed or safely deleted.

Furthermore, the current provisions on data erasure have been tightened up with the introduction of the European Data Protection Principles (GDPR), which were implemented in the beginning of 2016 and will become mandatory within all European Member States and companies in 2018.

How to delete data correctly

What are the possibilities and which is the optimal erasure method for which purpose.

Data erasure software:  One of the easiest ways to permanently delete your data is the use of a special software.  Hard disks, flash storage media and devices -  even virtual environments can all be safely and permanently erased without special hardware.  There are many different products on the market, from less extensive free tools to commercial products such as Blancco 5.  All are based on the same principle: These tools overwrite the medium with new information generated by different algorithms.  The advantage of this method is that the storage media can be used again.

Degausser:  A degausser (a demagnetizing tool), like the Ontrack Degausser 3.0, generates such a strong magnetic field that the existing magnetic alignment on the data carrier is disordered and thus destroyed.  This method is generally very reliable.  The degausser produces such a strong electromagnetic field that it can also easily erase then latest hard disks that have a very strong magnetization density.  However, as the name implies, only magnetic storage, such as hard disks and tapes, can be degaussed, but not SD cards or flash memories, which is based on electronic memory and controller chips.

Hosted Erase: Professional data erasure management for large amounts of data.  No matter what method you choose, the safe deletion of data is not a trivial task.  Not only does the actual deletion count, but it's also vital to obtain a verified data erasure certificate as a result of the secure data deletion, so that, in the event of an examination, proof can be provided.  If you only have a few files per year on different servers, desktops, notebooks or mobile tablets to be safely erased, this could be a manual task. However, in a large company with terabytes of data that has to be deleted under consideration of different end-of-life requests and erasure processes, this task cannot be handled manually anymore.

In such cases, a professional data erasure management solution, such as Hosted Erase by Ontrack, should be in place.  Hosted Erase is web based interface.  IT administrators that are responsible for secure deletion can bundle and manage the entire reporting, licensing, and execution of the various deletions on this online platform. By using the management unit, all available licenses for the world's leading hard drive erasure software - Blancco, Blancco 5 and Blancco Mobile, can be reviewed at a glance.  At the same time, a detailed report and certificate is generated for each deletion which can be used in an internal investigation or in the case of a legal dispute.

The main advantage of Hosted Erase is not only the use of the web-based management console, but also the fact that you do not have to provide your own infrastructure for the data erasure management.  The solution is deployed on servers in a Ontrack data center, and is subject to the very high security requirements of the world's largest data recovery service provider.  Hosted Erase makes life easier for IT administrators.  They no longer have to set up or maintain their own Erasure solution, while ensuring that no trace of data is left on the appropriate drives and that proof can be given for each deletion.

Image Copyright:  Bildnachweis: Kaboompics // Karolina/ CC0 License