Backup media eventually wears out whether you write it on spinning disks, removable media or both thus it needs to be replaced. You may want to know the best methods to do this. The main issue with disposal of backup media is that it normally has some sensitive data. Even when the data does not seem vital, there are numerous creative ways that stolen data can be used. This means that you have to be very careful when you want to dispose the data so that it will not land on the wrong hands. Below are some of the disposal techniques that you can work with:
Overwriting the Data
This is one of the methods that have been tried and tested when it comes to dealing with backup data. Here you are supposed to use binary data to overwrite the backup media. The method comes with it pros and cons. The main benefit you can get from this is that it is normally very easy to do. However, it is important to note that it is not 100% effective. This is simply because a person who has the right tools can mine the data that has been overwritten on a tape or disk.
The tools used for this are costly thus your data is protected from dumpster divers but you can be assured that it will not put the NSA away. Another con is the fact that depending on the mechanisms used, overwriting the data backup can be quite time consuming especially when dealing with loads of data. The process may also cause wear and tear of the tape drives. It is also important to note that this technique cannot be used when you are dealing with damaged media.
Destroying the Media Physically
Another effective technique that you can use to destroy backup media is to physically destroy it. Just like the method above, it also comes with its set of pros and cons. This is one of the most effective methods that you can take advantage of if you would like to prevent data exposure. The downside however is that there are times when admins decide to engage in DIY projects which can cause injuries. A safer method would be to use destruction machines which are expensive. Alternatively, you can hire companies that offer these services to reduce costs and enhance safety.
Degaussing the Media
This is another method that can be used to dispose the backup data. It is however important to make sure when the media has been degaussed no one can read the data. You can build your own degausser or purchase a commercial one. These are normally sold at around $2,000 to $5,000.
To make certain you get the best results, it would be best to combine a number of techniques to ensure that the data is disposed off well. For instance, you can overwrite the media and then degauss it. There are some organizations that will also physically destroy it. Regardless of the method you opt to use, make certain that it is cost prohibitive or physically impossible for anyone else who would like to recover the data that you have destroyed.
Do you use some other methods for disposing your backup media?