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Data Demolition

The IT manager for a multi-site law firm was stumped. As part of a companywide security crackdown, he'd been given orders to ensure any disk drives that were replaced in his data center got destroyed. Overwriting disks with software would not be sufficient. Baffled but eager to please, he asked two of his technicians to bring in hand-drills and sledgehammers. An afternoon's hard work outside the company loading docks, and the job was done.

Sound extreme? Think again. A growing number of IT pros are faced with replacing NAS gear, tape drives, or storage arrays without risking the loss of sensitive data. And depending on their company's position on the matter, they may be going to the shed -- the garden shed -- for the solution.

Options for destroying storage equipment, including magnetic disk and tape drives, encompass hiring a destruction contractor, buying disk-erasing software or equipment, buying equipment to physically destroy the drives -- or taking up cudgels.

In the case above, introduced on an IT technical Web forum, the IT manager's boss wouldn't hear of sending the old drives out to be destroyed, since that involved outsiders who could potentially snatch precious data. Had that been permitted, the manager could have hired firms such as Security Engineered Machinery Co. Inc. (SEM), which offers to destroy your drives for $3 to $7 apiece -- while you watch. Here is a "before/after" view of what SEM promises to do:

Figure 1:

Source: SEM

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