Fire: Not The Best Data Destruction Method

flames engulfing a server

Posted on Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Fire is thought to be one of the most destructive forces on Earth. In most cases, fire is an effective way to prevent forensic countermeasures– or to completely destroy an item.

So when some third-party hardware recyclers send unwanted hardware to Africa for disposal, it is not unusual for systems to be burnt. This serves two purposes: first, it allows valuable metals to be recovered. Second, fire should destroy hard drives and the data stored on them.

Hardware built to last

Historically, hard disk drives have been extremely delicate, susceptible to vibrations, dust and heat. Modern designs, however, are much more robust– and it appears that fire does not always render data unrecoverable.

A quick check online reveals dozens of data recovery firms with testimonials from owners of fire-damaged disk drives. By removing platters in a clean room, or reassembling melted components, recovery experts are able to read burned disks. 

The process is not necessarily easy, but it is possible to recover data directly from disk platters, even when the drive casing and controllers have been damaged.

For anyone determined to obtain your intellectual property or other trade secrets, the effort will be justifiable.

Something to think about

As you prepare hardware for disposal, you must carefully consider the final destination of your hard drives. If they are exported and burned, there will always be a risk of data being recovered, exposing your IP and potentially breaching data protection legislation.

To avoid this scenario, you should consider physically destroying disk platters on site. Alternatively, choose a partner like CDS who provides secure data deletion services as part of our hardware disposal service. This will ensure that no one is able to restore information from your disks, no matter how sophisticated their recovery labs.

Give CDS a call today to discuss your hardware disposal requirements.

Download article as a PDF - Fire: Not The Best Data Destruction Method

More Articles

Conveyor belt with garbage can full of electronics going into ROI machine to turn into bags of money

Are You Missing This Storage ROI Opportunity?

Most of the ROI realized from your storage comes from extending its lifespan. But there’s one last opportunity to squeeze a little more from your investments.

Image of people in data center

Who is monitoring your monitoring?

Urgent system alerts get the attention they deserve – but are important warnings being ignored?