Dealing with Data on EOL Hardware

EOL Hardware (that’s end-of-life hardware) can be a hassle to deal with at best, and a humongous liability at worst. All manner of sensitive corporate and consumer data lie aboard these machines. With great power comes great responsibility, and that means any and all risky, sensitive data must be wiped before your EOL hardware can move on to the next chapter of its life. That’s assuming you’ve already defended data leaks during these machines’ stay with your employees.

How do you do that? How does one simply go about erasing data off of tens, hundreds, perhaps thousands of devices?

Thankfully, we can help with you with that.



Option #1: Destruction

When you can’t beat them… Destroy them? A foolproof method for preventing data loss is simply by destroying the hard drives the data was residing on. Grab all of your EOL hardware, pull out all the storage drives, and ship the storage drives to a certified vendor for destruction. These vendors will shred your storage devices, returning a certification receipt to you and ensuring that all your sensitive data is forever inaccessible. Then, it’s a matter of moving your remaining hardware to its next destination; recycling, donations, sales, anything’s possible!

The downside of this is that your hardware has now lost a lot of value due to the lack of storage drives; you’d either have to accept the loss, or obtain replacement storage drives. Furthermore, pulling out storage drives from hundreds of laptops or desktops is a thankless, laborious task that will cost you time and money in wages.

Option #2: Erasures

A more sustainable and environmentally-friendly solution is to erase the data on your storage drives, rendering it clean and usable again. The learning curve to this is quite steep, however; you’ll need to understand your options, obtain a program or solution you can trust to completely wipe your sensitive data, and train your employees to use it effectively and efficiently. It’s a lot of set-up and investment to create such a process.

What are the data sanitization methods? There’s Secure Erase, DoD 5220.22-M (US Department of Defense), NCSC-TG-025 (US National Security Agency), AFSSI-5020 (US Air Force), and many more. As for programs, the most popular are DBAN and Blancco, though they are by no means the only ones.

Option #3: Vendors

Whether you wish to destroy or erase, a vendor can help you effectively execute one or both of the above solutions, if you prefer not to muddy your own employees’ hands. A proper, effective partner will assist you in getting your data erased in the most convenient and cost-effective way possible, and passing you certification of the successful disposal of your data.

Now that you know the basics of data erasures, let’s hope that the next step in your quest to dispose of EOL hardware is clearer. In fact, many of the strategies mentioned can also be applied to individual, personal machines. Go forth and erase.