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Hard Drive Degaussing

What is Hard Drive Degaussing? 

Degaussing is the process of permanently erasing data from hard-drives, tapes and disks by delivering a powerful magnetic pulse that instantly destroys all magnetic properties on the device. Data sanitization by degaussing is important for all classifications of data. Degaussing prevents sensitive information on decommissioned hard drives from being stolen, sold, leaked, and misused.  

working and non working an unwanted data stored on a tape or media disk like a computer or laptop hard drive, cassette, or cartridge. When exposed to the powerful magnetic field of a degausser, the magnetic data on a tape or hard disk is neutralized, or erased. Degaussing is the guaranteed form of hard drive erasure, as such; it serves as the standard method of data destruction. Using the right degausser will guarantee that your information is no longer retrievable. 

  • Degaussing is simply a demagnetizing process to erase a hard drive or tape. 
  • Degaussers contain a controlled magnetic field that is measured in units of gauss or oersteds (Oe). 
  • All magnetic media has a magnetic property, called coercivity, that is also measured in units of oersteds (Oe). 
  • The Oersted (Oe) value tells us how easy or how difficult a piece of media is to erase. Basically, higher Oe media requires stronger degausser magnetic field ratings. 
PROSHRED employee behind a shredding truck
PROSHRED employee shredding confidential materials in our onsite shredding trucks

How Does a Degausser Erase Hard Drives and Tapes? 

To understand how a degausser works, one must first understand how information is first recorded onto hard drives, tapes, reels, cassettes and other magnetic media. Magnetic media has been with us since the 1920s. Although it has seen dozens of changes over the years, the basic ideas remain the same. 

Magnetic tape has three basic components: a fine metal iron oxide powder, a binder and the film backing. A tape recorder works by moving the tape past a set of small metal blocks, called heads, at a steady speed. A tape recorder contains both record and playback heads. These heads are specialized electromagnets. When recording, the recording heads will create a magnetic field that alters the positioning of the fine iron oxide powder on the surface of the tape into a digital recording pattern. In turn, the playback heads read this pattern and convert it into sound, video or computer data. 

Are All Degaussers The Same?

With so many different degausser models on the market, it’s important to know what to look for when choosing a right model for your needs as not all degaussers are created equally. Electromagnetic degaussers generate a magnetic field by charging a degaussing coil. Permanent magnet degaussers contain one or more rare earth magnets and do not require electricity to operate. Some degaussers are meant for mobile operations, while others are built for high volume. 

The most important aspect to consider when shopping for a degausser is its ability to erase your media. Degaussers are rated for different media based upon the degausser’s maximum magnetic field strength. The magnetic field strength of a degausser is measured in gauss, or oersteds. Tapes and hard drives also have a measurable magnetic value called coercivity, which is measured in oersteds as well. 

As technology has advanced through the years, coercivity ratings on tapes and hard drives has grown allowing users to store more information on said media. In turn, these higher-coercivity tapes and hard drives require advanced degaussers with more powerful magnetic fields. 

PROSHRED employee with a customer standing beside a PROSHRED shredding truck
business customers

Comply With EPA and NIST standards 

Choosing an IT disposition service that complies with EPA and NIST regulations is crucial in disposing of your IT assets properly and removing old data from media. As a business, you must comply with environmental safety, data security, and privacy laws, or risk massive fines for not properly disposing of the equipment. PROSHRED®’s IT disposition practices are environmentally responsible and follow a zero-landfill policy to help protect the environment from dangerous chemicals and materials. 

On-Site Data Destruction 

No need to make a special trip: We offer product destruction services on-site for destruction or wiping of Hard Disk Drives. In addition to destroying confidential data, we supply a Certificate of Destruction to our clients after the service is complete. PROSHRED® also offers services to recycle, wipe data, and transfer liability. 

certified hard drive degaussing employee beside a PROSHRED shredding truck

Site Decommissioning & Relocation

Moving to a new office? PROSHRED® will manage the whole move from an IT asset perspective. Our professionals can handle any size project such as returning servers to their original state, or decommissioning and relocating IT Assets. Services would include the removal of cable and fire suppression elements as well as logistics; the packing and shipping of the IT  assets. 

Data Center Buyout Program 

If you’re looking to move from an existing data center to virtual storage, PROSHRED® can help with that. We help clients move to their new system while recovering value from their current assets through our IT Disposition and recycling programs. 

PROSHRED employee helping a customer
PROSHRED employee standing beside PROSHRED's shredding truck that displays the recycling logo

Certified Recycling 

PROSHRED® offers certified recycling programs to fit the needs of your business including pick-up programs and collection bins. We report all items as they make their way through the recycling chain and include the make, model, serial number, and any asset tags in our custody reporting.  

Whether your company is looking to get rid of old technology safely, move to a new location, or implement a new storage system, PROSHRED® is here for all of your IT Asset Management and Disposition needs in addition to our business shredding services. Call us at 1-877-767-4733 today. 

No, you cannot reuse a hard drive once it has been degaussed. This is because the degaussing process not only removes all the data, but it also removes the start-up files. As such, a degaussed hard drive will not boot up. 

Once a hard drive has been degaussed, it can be recycled for its precious metals. Recycling companies are often willing to purchase degaussed/damaged hard drives. Complete hard drives provide a higher recycling value than shredded hard drives. Offerings will vary by location and current market prices for precious metals, please check your local listings for a hard drive recycling vendor. 

There is a lot to consider. We're happy to provide you with a FREE Needs Assessment and No Obligation Quote.

PROSHRED® Security offers services to every industry. However, we have specialized in industries that are regulated by federal and provincial legislation, such as businesses, medical institutions, financial institutions, law firms, educational institutions and manufacturers to name a few. For a full list of all industries we serve, click here.

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