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May 23, 2024

Is a Factory Reset Sufficient for Decommissioning Data Center Equipment?

factory reset A factory reset is often used to clear configurable settings and restore hardware to its original state. However, this process does not guarantee the complete erasure of all data stored on the device. For robust data security, it is crucial to implement more thorough methods of data destruction to prevent potential data recovery. Here are some effective data destruction methods:

1. Data Wiping

  • Overwriting:
    • Overwriting involves writing new data over the existing data multiple times. This method ensures that the original data is obscured and cannot be recovered using standard recovery techniques.
    • Tools like DBAN (Darik’s Boot and Nuke) can be used for this purpose, ensuring compliance with data sanitization standards.
  • Digital Shredding:
    • Digital shredding, or wiping, involves using software to repeatedly overwrite the data on storage devices with random patterns. This method makes it extremely difficult to retrieve the original data.

2. Degaussing

  • Magnetic Field Application:
    • Degaussing uses a high-powered magnet to disrupt the magnetic fields on storage devices such as hard drives and tapes. This process renders the stored data unreadable and effectively destroys it.
    • It is a quick and efficient method, especially useful for bulk data sanitization.

3. Physical Destruction

  • Shredding:
    • Shredding involves physically destroying the storage media by breaking it down into small pieces using a shredder. This method ensures that the data cannot be reconstructed or recovered.
    • It is one of the most popular and cost-effective physical destruction techniques.
  • Crushing and Dismantling:
    • Crushing involves using a hydraulic press or other machinery to deform the storage device, making data recovery impossible. Dismantling can also involve manually breaking down the device and destroying the storage platters or chips.
  • Incineration:
    • Incineration involves burning the storage devices at high temperatures to ensure complete destruction. This method is less common but provides an additional layer of security for highly sensitive data .

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So which factory reset method should you use? The optimal data destruction method varies based on the media type, data sensitivity, and the asset’s end-of-life value. If the equipment is well past EOL and is no longer supported by the OEM the potential for resale is pretty slim. In that case the physical destruction is the most cost effective way with a slight caveat. If your data is extremely sensitive you should consider the crushing and dismantling as shredding some times can leave pieces large enough where some data could be recovered.  Degaussing is also an effective measure as it destroys both the data and the means of operating the drive. For resell your options are overwriting and digital shredding with the digital shredding being more secure if you have sensitive data to protect. Although some companies try to handle data destruction internally, it often proves inefficient and resource-draining. IT asset disposition firms like TeleTraders generally offer more expertise and economies of scale, making the factory reset process more cost-effective. While factory resets are useful for clearing configurations and resetting devices, they do not provide comprehensive data security. Implementing thorough data destruction methods like data wiping, degaussing, and physical destruction is essential to ensure that sensitive data cannot be recovered, thereby preventing data breaches and ensuring compliance with data protection regulations.

About the Editorial Staff

The Editorial Staff at TeleTraders, led by IT asset expert Clay Beckham and his seasoned team, boasts over 10 years of industry experience in IT asset management, secure IT asset disposal, and technology solutions. Founded in 2013, TeleTraders quickly became a trusted source of IT expertise. The team at TeleTraders demonstrates its commitment to excellence, spending countless hours each day handling a wide spectrum of IT equipment, spanning from intricate networking gear to precision barcode scanners. Our team strives to transfer our hands on knowledge into resources for IT professionals in businesses of any size.

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