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E-waste management processes aren’t talked about much, so it’s understandable that some individuals don’t normally know what goes on behind the scenes. One common process used in e-waste management companies is HDD degaussing, or hard disk degaussing, where sensitive data in electronic devices is safely and thoroughly destroyed via a degausser. If you’re apprehensive about handing over sensitive data to these companies, this article will give you a better understanding on how degaussing works and what exactly it entails.

What is Degaussing?

To put it simply, degaussing is a unique technique utilised by most e-waste management companies like Metalo to facilitate the permanent deletion of data found in memory devices built on magnetic media. These devices include hard disk, floppy disk, magnetic tapes, and cassettes. The aim of HDD degaussing or hard disk degaussing is to ensure the rapid and thorough destruction of information in memory devices beyond the usage of erasure software and manual deletion of data. Businesses often store sensitive data on these devices and it’s important to ensure that none of that information gets leaked as it can contain anything from clients’ addresses to bank details.

How Does Degaussing Work?

The most important tool when it comes to HDD degaussing or hard disk degaussing is the degausser itself. The principle that forms the bedrock of the process itself is based on a physics concept known as the polarisation of the Weiss domains. While data is stored on magnetic media, a magnetic field is applied to small areas called magnetic domains, more specifically, Weiss domains. Whilst in the writing information, the magnetic field impresses a verse that orients the magnetisation of a certain number of Weiss domains, and these verses are associated with binary values 0 and 1.

What the degausser does is that it generates a controlled magnetic field that is used to remove information, which scrambles the magnetisation arrangement of the Weiss domains that were generated when writing the data, and when they are no longer forced into one direction, the data is removed. In fact, your devices should come with an Oe rating that determines how strong a magnetic field they need for information to be removed. Once a device has been degaussed, it can no longer be reused.

Benefits of Degaussing

Some people may not know this, but degaussing is a far more effective and safer way of erasing data than just manually deleting everything or even erasure with unlicensed software that does not meet recognised standards like DoD 5520.22-M, NIST 800-88, and so on. As mentioned earlier, degaussing is popular amongst businesses and corporations with sensitive data on their hands, and with HDD degaussing or hard disk degaussing, these entities stand to gain from various benefits, including:

  • Full erasure of all data with no known exploitation method available to retrieve it.
  • Lowered security risks associated with storing excess classified magnetic storage media.
  • Easy, sweeping sanitisation of unclassified media contaminated with classified information.
  • Reduction of administrative paperwork and procedures needed to store sensitive information.
  • Avoid costs and loss of revenue associated with stolen storage media.
  • Drastically reduces time and manpower required to overwrite information or destroy magnetic data

Organisations aren’t the only ones who stand to benefit from degaussing. At the end of the day, everyone has sensitive information to various degrees stowed away somewhere, from work contracts to passwords. In an age where digital theft is so commonplace, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

With Metalo, your digital secrets are safe with us. For more information about the various e-waste management services that we provide, please visit our website.

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