Basics behind Electronic Data Shredding

“Paper shredding” today no longer refers to taking important documents and feeding them through a shredder. We are now living in the Information Age and that means that the majority of the most private, sensitive data and information around is hosted in a database, on a computer, or on some type of hard drive. As such, understanding the ins and outs of electronic data shredding is critical to protect yourself, your business, and your family’s most important private information. Today, data is centrally stored and shared and is thus more challenging to protect. Typically, these type of data files are stored in multiple places. The storage location for these files is called a “cluster” and they work in combination with hard drive folders called “directories”.

Operating systems store these files in a variety of ways in order to be able to access them easily and effectively. Once a file is deleted, a code is placed within the directory that indicates the file is no longer linked to a directory. Unfortunately, the file is never actually “deleted” and is able to be accessed due to its continual existence on the directory. E-shredding is the key to permanently destroying these files. Properly getting rid of these electronic files involves these steps:

  1. Overwriting the data cluster of files
  2. Renaming the file to remove its original name from the directory
  3. Truncating the file to 0 bytes in order to discard the file size
  4. Deleting the renamed/truncated file

Since files are not actually deleted with the touch of the “delete” button, it is important to take the extra necessary steps to safeguard important electronic data. For most organizations, this process is far too complex to be conducted in-house or by internal staff. As such, it is best to hire a professional electronic data shredding company to ensure that each step is carried out properly and effectively.

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