According to the IDC Data Age 2025 report – The Digitization of the World, the global data sphere will grow at a CAGR of 61 percent from 33 Zettabytes (ZB) in 2018 to 175 ZB by 2025. As data grows, the concerns of organizations about processing and maintaining security protocols at all stages of the data lifecycle also grow.
Although data should be handled as a valuable commodity, there is another aspect of data management to consider: data as a liability. Having data slip into the wrong hands can be disastrous, which is all the more reason to have a solid and secure data deletion policy in place.
If a company doesn’t have a data disposal policy in place or isn’t well-versed in secure data destruction and disposal, they risk security incidents, loss of consumer trust, hefty fines, and damage to the brand’s reputation.
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The need for data destruction
So, how can organizations benefit from data destruction? The biggest advantage is accountability since both employees and consumers can be confident that critical data will not fall into the wrong hands. It’s worth noting that this applies equally well to both purposeful and unintentional theft.
Businesses must now follow both the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) standards. These guidelines spell out how, when, and why data should be disposed of. Businesses that use effective ways will remain compliant at all times.
Customers are also growing increasingly picky about the companies with whom they do business. As the risk of inadequate cybersecurity grows, it’s only natural that businesses that provide modern solutions will be favoured. Simply put, adopting the necessary steps is beneficial to the organization.
Here are some of the data destruction methods that can be included in data destruction policies:
Physical data destruction
This is the most secure way of data destruction, and it is the ideal approach to destroy data that is very sensitive or even classified. The data in question is not simply deleted from the storage means with this process, instead, the data is fully irrecoverable because the storage medium is physically destroyed. One disadvantage of this technology is that it prevents the reuse of storage devices for new data, making it expensive.
Traceability is crucial
While it may appear that data destruction policies should exclusively address data destruction, this is not the case. A data destruction strategy should, in fact, contain safeguards to secure data while it is in use. The ability to always locate storage media and data throughout the data lifecycle is a vital component of this. For instance, one way to do this is to track the location of storage media using serial numbers. This ensures that all drives are accounted for and reduces the security risks associated with the theft of storage media.
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While everyone understands the significance of creating backup copies of essential data, when it comes to eliminating data that is no longer needed, backups are frequently overlooked. All backup copies of all files should be destroyed as part of a good data destruction policy. When backup copies are allowed to circulate after they are no longer needed, a security risk is introduced.
External service providers
A reputable and professional data destruction specialist should be included in any worthwhile data destruction policy. Businesses can ensure that their data is destroyed in accordance with international best practices by engaging external service providers and can expect to get a confirmation in the form of a post-destruction certificate. Having such a certificate verifies that an organization has fully met its obligations under the GDPR and other similar regulations.
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