August 26, 2019

How to Destroy a Hard Disk

Food waste, plastic waste and paper waste are the usual topics that pop up in on our news feeds with consumers becoming more environmentally-conscious. However one facet that is often overlooked is electronic waste, also known as e-waste.
A study conducted by the National Environment Agency (NEA) in 2016 & 2017 estimated that more than 60,000 tonnes of electronic waste, which amounts to approx. 11 kg per person, is generated in Singapore per year, with only 6% of it recycled[1].
Apart from highlighting another major environmental concern, this study also brought to light the improper disposal of electronic devices which could potentially put an individual’s personal data and organisational data at risk. Many have the misconception that data is permanently destroyed once it has been deleted but little do they know that this information can still be retrieved by criminals, paving the way for security violations such as data breaches, business fraud and identity theft.
Hard disk drives are examples of e-waste which are often neglected, however hold paramount importance. Whether installed in our PCs internally or used as an external storage source, hard disk drives have the capability to store extensive amounts of information, such as an organisation’s confidential business information or an individual’s personal data. This information is valuable to data mongers. It is therefore imperative for both organisations and individuals to adopt a proper and secure hard disk destruction process to prevent valuable information from landing in the wrong hands.
As recommended by the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC), both organisations and individuals are encouraged to dispose of their media devices through secure shredding.
While secure destruction and disposal of hard drives is important, it is also crucial for organisations and individuals to adopt a holistic approach when it comes to protecting data. Here are some other ways that both organisations can practice protecting confidential data:

  1. Implementing a Clean Desk Policy for cleaner desks, tidied papers, proper storage of sensitive information, and an organised working space at the end of the day.
  2. Destroying all documents on a regular basis securely with a Shred-it all Policy.
  3. Developing a structured flow of documents in the organisation with a Secure Document Management Policy.

These steps should be carried out in a secure and sustainable way with Shred-it’s secure shredding and recycling process.
Individuals and organisations should familiarise themselves with the PDPA and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance requirements. The legislation requires organisations to exercise proper data collection, in which failure to do so could result in monetary penalties and reputational loss.
Start Protecting Your Business
An organisation that integrates data protection into its business processes can help reduce the risk of a data breach and non-compliance to the PDPA. Learn more about how Shred-it can protect your documents and hard-drives by contacting us for a free quote and a security risk assessment.

[1] Open Gov Asia. 2019. NEA STUDY: SINGAPORE PRODUCES 60,000 TONNES OF E-WASTE ANNUALLY, ONLY 6% recycled. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 11 July 2019]