What Is Data Wiping and Why Is It Important?

From January to September 2021, there were 1,291 publicly reported data breaches in the US. Worse, they resulted in the data of about 281 million people becoming compromised.

That high prevalence rate should be enough to make you handle your data more securely. One example is if you plan to give away or recycle old devices with storage media. In such cases, it’s imperative to perform data wiping.

So, what exactly does data wiping mean? Why should you even do it?

This guide will get to the bottom of those questions, so be sure to read on.

What Is Data Wiping?

Data wiping removes data stored in a read/write medium by making it unreadable. It also goes by the name data erasure, which you should never confuse with data deletion.

The term data deletion refers to the simple act of deleting data from a directory. So, when you delete, say, a file, it disappears from the directory. However, the file’s information is still somewhere in the drive.

On the other hand, data wiping overwrites the actual data.

To effectively wipe existing data on a storage medium, you often need to use data wiping software. That program replaces the encoded data with a different set of binary 0s and 1s. In some cases, other random, gibberish-looking codes replace the stored information.

Keep in mind that data erasure software must also abide by stringent standards. As noted by www.certus.software/en/, one of these is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Others include the Common Criteria EAL3+ and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).

With that said, it’s vital to use data wiping software that complies with those standards. That way, you can ensure the program can completely erase the data from your storage media.

Why Do You Need to Wipe Data?

Data wiping is a form of data protection, as it overwrites existing data that may be sensitive. Moreover, the process removes any record or trail of the previous data’s existence. That’s how a data wipe renders a data unrecoverable or unreadable.

One of the primary reasons data wiping is crucial is that it can help prevent data theft. Data theft, in turn, can occur when you recycle or give away devices without wiping their contents. That’s because hackers have the skills and tools to recover data you only deleted, not wiped (or erased).

Please remember that data theft can give rise to identity fraud scams. In 2020 alone, such crimes resulted in losses amounting to $43 billion. That’s enough reason to remove all traces of your data in storage media before you recycle or give them away.

Another reason to wipe data is to avoid becoming liable for cybersecurity breaches. That’s especially crucial if you run a business and hold on to your client’s information. If you suffer a data breach that also impacts your clients, they may have the right to sue you.

Always Practice Proper Data Protection

Please keep in mind that data theft can cause significant financial repercussions. On top of the list are fraud and identity theft, all of which can happen if hackers get ahold of your data. And they can, especially if you fail to perform the data wiping process on old drives that you recycle or give away.

So, for your protection and that of your clients, always abide by proper data security methods.

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