Your Business Needs to Know How To Securely Sanitise Solid-State Drives (SSDs)

Your Business Needs to Know How To Securely Sanitise Solid-State Drives (SSDs)

By Sharanya Mohan

May 20, 2021

data security

Data security is a crucial aspect of running an enterprise. 

Information stored in any device that is ready to be recycled or refurbished becomes susceptible to unlawful access if it isn’t wiped clean. Such breaches of confidential information can be lethal to business.

This is why businesses must take care to adopt proper methods to safely and securely destroy data.

Data sanitisation is the key to protecting yourself from unwanted breaches. A basic reformatting simply clears up space for new files. It in no way protects you from a breach. An expert hacker could very easily recover most or all of your stored data using free or paid tools. Similarly, shredding or deleting files are not methods of data sanitisation. They simply make the files inaccessible to operating systems.

Data sanitisation involves the process of permanently and securely disposing data stored in a device. This squashes any hope of cyber-attacks and ensures the protection of a business’ privacy. This is key when a device or data reaches end-of-life or is held to be redundant.

solid-state-drive ssd

Solid-State-Drives or SSDs

Data sanitisation is important when a device or data reaches end-of-life or is held to be redundant.

Knowing Your Device - is it HDD or SSD?

It is first and foremost important to know your device. Does your enterprise use the traditional hard disk drive (HDD), or is it the newer and quicker solid-state drive (SSD)?

While HDDs and SSDs share the same function and purpose, they differ greatly in their characteristics and performance.

Recognising HDD

An HDD stores data using magnetic platters and moving parts. Due to its need to constantly spin up its platters from a standstill to read and write data, the HDD tends to consume a lot of electricity.

When platters are crowded with data, the read and write speed is slowed considerably. With the hard drive, however, you can get a lot more storage space at a cheaper price as opposed to the SSD.

Recognising SSD

The SSD on the other hand isn’t filled with moving parts like the HDD - a feature that makes it more durable and reliable, and lighter in weight.

SSDs instead store data on semiconductor chips. As a result, they work a lot faster hence significantly improving their sequential read and write speed. Their non-mechanical nature increases efficiency as there is no need for continuous electricity consumption. 

Recognising the hybrid

There are instances where HDDs are stored with SSDs in one single device to meet the storage requirement of an enterprise, thus creating a hybrid drive. This gives you the best of both worlds.  A hybrid situation, however, raises a concern when it comes to securely destroying data.

Man using multimeter while testing hard disk drive

Source: Depositphotos

Where a hybrid drive is concerned, degaussing only works on data stored in the HDD. Any data stored in the SSD will be left behind. 

The Unsuitability of Physical Destruction on SSDs

Physical data destruction works by mechanically altering the physical characteristics of a storage device.

One method is degaussing, which is to securely destroy data by rearranging a device’s magnetic field. This method will prove ineffective on SSDs as SSDs store data on flash memory rather than magnetically.

Where a hybrid drive is concerned, degaussing only works on data stored in the HDD. Any data stored in the SSD will be left behind. 

Shredding or crushing is a way to physically destroy data that is entirely ineffective on SSDs. This method involves using a hard disk drive shredder to shred the equipment into small pieces or disintegrate them into minuscule particles. 

As SSDs store data on flash memory, it’s almost impossible to disintegrate these chips into pieces that are small enough to be pronounced physically destroyed. This means the SSD chips are left fully intact and vulnerable to unauthorised access.

usb-computer-laptop-desk-headphone computer

Use a software-based tool to securely erase your data. Aim to effectively clear, purge, and destroy all of your sensitive data to make them irretrievable.

Data Erasure is Your Solution

Data erasure is the process of securely erasing data using a software.

Based on the security guidelines provided by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), this method aims to effectively clear, purge, and destroy all data to make them irretrievable once the data or the data storage device reaches the end of its life.

Secure erasure of your SSD overwrites the stored data as many times as needed using ones and zeros. Once a full erasure has occurred, the software will verify that data has been successfully overwritten across all sectors of the SSD.

Following this, a certificate will be issued once sanitisation has taken place. SSDs that have been fully sanitised will not contain any recoverable data, even with the use of the most advanced forensic tools. This means there is zero risk of data theft. 

In a nutshell, data erasure is the solution to achieving data sanitisation. This is due to the validation process which affirms that data has been successfully overwritten and an auditable report is made available.

Furthermore, data erasure is the sustainable and environmentally-friendly solution to destroying your data. It also allows your enterprise to retain the resale value of your SSDs.

security-internet-crime-cybersecurity

Businesses must take the right measures to ensure there are no breaches to their information.

Recognising the Importance of Sanitising your SSDs

It is so very important that businesses recognise the importance of data protection. To safeguard digital data from outsider access is vital, as the risks attached to suffering a data compromise is too high.

Here at SPW, we offer the service of securely overwriting data using our partner data erasure softwares - thus rendering data unrecoverable and consequently mitigating the risk of unlawful access. 

As we have established, verification and certification is needed to truly achieve complete data destruction and sanitisation.

Businesses must take the right measures to ensure there are no breaches to their information. Failure to do so will only end badly and bring with it legal implications that could potentially damage business.


SPW is Asia's go-to solutions provider for data destruction, data erasure, IT asset remarketing, and environmentally-responsible IT asset disposals. Contact us and learn how you can incorporate an ITAD strategy into your business today. 

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