How to Destroy a Hard Drive in 5 Easy Steps

How to Destroy a Hard Drive in 5 Easy Steps

How to destroy a hard drive
Hard drives often contain sensitive information that might put your business at risk. Old files, bills, invoices, and contracts are just a few examples. If you're wondering how to destroy a hard drive and get rid of sensitive information, follow these five steps.

Data breaches are often in the news but have you ever thought about the cost of these data breaches? The average cost of a data breach in 2017 was $3.62 million.

Hard drives often contain sensitive information that might put your business at risk. Old files, bills, invoices, and contracts are a few examples. Maintaining data security includes disposing of old hard drives securely and that usually means destroying them, as you would confidential paper records.

If you're wondering how to destroy a hard drive and get rid of sensitive information, follow these five steps.

1. Back up All of Your Data and Wipe the Drive

A hard drive contains information in the form of data files. Before a hard drive is destroyed you should ensure that any records that you need in the future are backed up. It will be too late once the hard drive has been destroyed.

It might seem unnecessary to wipe the drive given that the drive will be destroyed. If the person in your organization who backs up and wipes the drive is a different person from the one who destroys the drive, wiping the data is one more level of security. No harm in extra security.

2. Open up Your Computer Casing and Locate the Hard Drive

The hard drive is a component fitted inside your computer case. It can be in different locations depending on the model of computer. It may even be inside its own casing.

If you have any doubt as to how to access the internal components, use the manufacturers manual. Similarly, identifying which of the several components in the computer case is the hard drive may need the use of a manual.

Remember, never work on the internal components of a computer when it is attached to a power supply.

3. Remove the Hard Drive

Once you have located the hard drive remove it by unscrewing the retaining screws. There are sometimes screws hidden under labels. Remove all screws before removing the hard drive.

Hard drive disposal does not mean you need to dispose of the whole computer. Be careful not to damage other components if you intend to fit a new hard drive and keep using the computer.

4. How to Destroy a Hard Drive

A hard drive shredder converts your hard drive from a potential data-breach risk into particles of waste. The data is completely irrecoverable. It does this safely and permanently.

Other advice on what to do with old hard drives may suggest trying to smash, grind or otherwise creatively destroy hard drive components. These are often unsafe and may be unreliable. They are also impractical for large volumes of drives.

5. Dispose of the Waste

Dispose of the waste from hard drive destruction, responsibly. There may be materials that can be recycled or even some that should not be put into general waste. Find a local electronic waste facility to dispose of this waste material.

Buying a Hard Drive Shredder

If you have high volumes of hard drives to destroy you may need a hard drive shredder. It will come in useful for shredding other things too. Most hard drive shredders will also shred CDs, DVDs, magnetic tapes and also USB drives.

Data security is a serious risk for any business. Now you know how to destroy a hard drive, a hard drive shredder can be part of your risk reduction plan.

To start shopping for a hard drive shredder that's right for you, click here.