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Data Erasure: An Essential Element When Prioritizing Data Security

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Data privacy is taking center stage as organizations create and store a staggering amount of information for business purposes. According to a recent study, 328 million terabytes of data is generated every day, presenting businesses with the ongoing task of effectively handling this immense volume of information from its creation to its eventual disposal. IDC predicts that in next 2 years the global data sphere will grow to 221 Zettabytes at an annual CAGR of 21.2%.

The growth in data presents the pressing challenges of data breaches posing significant risks to organizations if data is not securely handled and protected. Mishandling of sensitive information can result in severe consequences, including compromised information, financial losses, severe penalties for non-compliance with laws, expensive lawsuits and damage to company’s reputation. In fact, businesses are aware of these risks, according to Cisco’s survey,  91% of organizations prioritize data privacy and security and call it a business imperative. A recent study by IBM reveals that in 2023, the average cost of a data breach soared to $4.45 million, the highest in 17 years. Data erasure is the only solution to mitigate the risk of data breaches and staying compliant with laws while ensuring that Redundant, Trivial and Obsolete (R.O.T) data is disposed timely and stays out of the hands of malicious actors.

Professional data erasure software like BitRaser, helps organizations mitigate data-breach risks by erasing data securely from devices that are reallocated, donated or disposed of. The software safeguards sensitive information from falling into wrong hands, supports organizations comply with stringent regulations, thereby preserving their brand reputation. In a world where data reigns supreme, data erasure has become a priority for ensuring data security. 

Addressing the Growing Concerns over Data Breaches

Data breaches have become an epidemic, with 8 million data records compromised worldwide in the fourth quarter of 2023 as per Statista reports. However, a significant portion of these breaches can be attributed to the improper disposal of hard drives and devices as per recent researches. As an example, Morgan Stanley bank was penalized with US $60 million in 2020 for a data security breach due to improper decommissioning of its hardware, leaking sensitive customer, stakeholder and investor information. This fined was levied by the OCC in a settlement case in 2020. This was not the only time when this bank was fined, there was another episode in 2022, where SEC fined the bank with US $35 million for its failure to safeguard PII of millions of customers.

There are many other cases like the Maine HealthReach Data Breach episode at Waterville which compromised PHI and PII of 100,000 patients in 2021. The entity HealthReach community health centers were levied a fine for thousands of dollars for non-compliance to HIPAA and Maine Privacy Law.

All these episodes of data breaches due to improper disposal of drives and devices serve as a stark reminder of the importance of secure data disposal practices to be followed by the organizations. Organizations should have a clear, comprehensive data disposal policy that specifies how to securely erase, destroy or recycle electronic devices and media that contain Personally Identifiable Information (PII) or Protected Health Information (PHI). The policy must also include regular audits, training and measures to ensure compliance and prevent negligence.  

Benefits of Secure Data Erasure

Data erasure is a secure approach to data disposal that offers numerous benefits. The top benefits of data erasure include:

  • Ensuring Compliance: By adhering to secure data erasure practices, organizations can comply with various industry regulations, standards and data protection laws, such as EU-GDPR, HIPAA, CPRA, SOX, GLBA and PCI DSS, ISO 27001 which mandate the secure handling and disposal of sensitive information from drives and devices. Organizations can follow prominent guidelines from NIST for media-sanitization as an example.
  • Risk Mitigation: Secure data erasure significantly reduces the risk of data breaches and the associated financial and reputational consequences. By ensuring that sensitive data is permanently removed, organizations can safeguard their clients’ trust and avoid costly penalties or legal liabilities.
  • Promotes Reusability and Sustainability: Data erasure allows for the secure and eco-friendly reuse of data-bearing devices, aligning with environmental sustainability initiatives. By erasing data, organizations can repurpose their devices, reducing electronic waste and contributing to a greener future.
  • Cost Savings: Implementing data erasure can result in substantial cost savings compared to traditional methods of data destruction, such as physically shredding or degaussing storage devices. Effective data erasure enables organizations to extend the lifespan of their hardware investments, leading to long-term cost reductions.
  • Enhances Operational Efficiency: By streamlining the data sanitization process, data erasure enhances operational efficiency. Automated erasure solutions can quickly and consistently erase data from multiple devices simultaneously, reducing the time and resources required for manual data sanitization methods.

Best Practices For Data Erasure 

To comply and safeguard privacy, businesses should embrace the following vital data erasure best practices.

  • Create a data retention and destruction policy to define how long data should be kept and when it should be erased. This provides a framework for managing data. Ensure employees and trained regularly on the same and audits are done.
  • Create an inventory of all devices containing data to know what data exists and where it exists before erasing. This ensures no devices are missed when wiping data.
  • Choose either onsite or offsite data erasure based on level of control needed. Onsite allows close monitoring with less data leakage risk. However, if businesses outsource data wiping, they must verify vendor certification, audit facility, and credibility in erasure.
  • Use a data erasure software certified by global bodies like BitRaser, Wipe Drive, etc. to securely wipe data according to international standards. Such a software ensures that the data is wiped beyond the scope of recovery and the global certifications build confidence that the software can fully erase data using globally-accepted wiping algorithms.
  • Verify, document and regularly audit the data erasure process, to zero-down the possibility of data breach risks and ensures processes are followed properly. Certificate of destruction after erasure acts as a verifiable record to prove that data is erased beyond recovery


Safeguarding data is a priority that no business can afford to overlook in today’s AI data-driven age. Implementing proper data erasure procedures ensures sensitive information is completely and permanently removed when no longer needed. By overwriting storage devices with the globally accepted erasure methods supported by BitRaser, businesses can protect customers’ privacy, maintain compliance, enable device reuse or recycling, and avoid data breaches. With threats increasing, every company must make data erasure an essential pillar of its security strategy and ultimately, by proactively erasing stale data, organizations can focus their resources on innovation and maintain public trust.