What is degaussing?
Degaussing is a pre-destruction process often used by governments and military forces around the globe. It is the process of securely sanitising magnetic media that contains sensitive information to render the data irretrievable.
Data thieves can sometimes recover and read digital data even after it’s been deleted or overwritten. Degaussing uses a powerful magnetic field to completely remove the data so that it can never be read again.
Products recommended for this process are removable magnetic media such as hard drives, backup tapes and floppy disks.
We can carry out degaussing either at your offices, with our mobile unit, or at our own secure premises.
We use a machine that is approved by the world renowned companies. It also meets the standards set by both International Agencies & Corporate.
Degaussing & shredding
Some companies and agencies prefer their data to be erased before digital media are destroyed. To meet this need, we can offer a combined degaussing & shredding service.
This service is available on-site, off-site or in any combination. For example, companies or agencies using our off-site destruction service may prefer degaussing on-site before the media is transported for destruction at our depots. Or we can perform degaussing and shredding on-site.
Our services are flexible and we tailor the service to meet your requirements.
Shredding for non-magnetic digital media
Degaussing only works for magnetic media. Data on CDs, DVDs, USB sticks, mobile phones and modern flash drives cannot be destroyed by degaussing.
To make sure data on these devices cannot be recovered, you’ll need our Hard Drive & Digital Media Destruction service.
Shredding digital media physically destroys the item so it can never be used again and the data is completely beyond recovery.
As with degaussing, we can shred digital devices at your premises or at ours.
To talk through your requirements with a specialist in secure data destruction and work out which services you need, please contact us
Degaussing Hard Drives
Hard drives and other electronic storage devices such as computer tapes store data within magnetic fields. Such storage mediums contain layers of magnetic material. By arranging the specific direction of these tiny magnetic materials, a drive can store millions of binary data bits. A hard drive retains this data only if the magnetic fields are kept in their precise order.
A degaussing machine subjects a hard drive to a high-intensity magnetic field, completely rearranging the entire magnetic structure of the drive. The degausser randomizes the patterns of magnetization by applying alternating fields of powerful magnetic amplitude. The end result is irrecoverable data.
Once a drive has been degaussed, it can no longer be used for storage.
Eight Important Facts about Degaussing
- Can data on a degaussed drive be recovered? No. Once a drive has been degaussed, it is impossible to retrieve the data.
- Can a degaussed disk be used after degaussing? No. A degaussed drive is inoperable in any system. The magnetic erasure rearranges the magnetic field to such an extent that standard read heads are unable to find a magnetic reference point for tracking.
- Does running an ordinary magnet over a hard drive accomplish degaussing? No. Standard magnets are not powerful enough to degauss a hard drive. Only an industrial degausser can guarantee the erasure of data.
- Can any degausser erase data? No. In order to be completely effective, a degausser should emit magnetic strength that is two or three times greater than the magnetic intensity of the hard drive. Some commercially-available degaussers are too weak to ensure that the data is erased. It is important to use an NSA-recommended degausser.
- Why is degaussing important? Degaussing is the first step in completely destroying data. Due to regulations.
- Does degaussing destroy other forms of tape storage (DLT, SDLT, 3480, AIT, etc.)? Yes. Degaussers emit such powerful magnetic fields that they can erase virtually any magnetic-based storage device.
- Can degaussing destroy data on a USB drive? No because USB memory devices operate on solid state memory, which does not depend on the same magnetic structure of hard drive or tape storage.
- Is degaussing the final step in data destruction? Although degaussing is a failsafe way of data erasure, the authority recommends that media be physically destroyed/shredded after degaussing.
Not every degausser is approved for official use by the National Security Administration. If your business or organization requires degaussing, you should consult with Data Killers, which has approved equipment and processes.