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Data Destruction Best Practices For Better Data Security

Securing your data through smarter data destruction protocols?

Data destruction and security is more important than ever these days. More and more data is being created and the pace of creation is accelerating. Ensuring your organisation’s data is secure requires a standardised approach.

For many organisations and their staff, data destruction means moving files to the ‘trash bin’ folder and emptying it periodically. Unfortunately, this does not mean that your data can no longer be accessed. In fact, anyone with good hard drive recovery software, whether a computer expert on not, can still recover data that you have deleted.

Here are 7 Data Destruction Best Practices you can follow:

Create a Metadata Standard for your organisation

Metadata is vital to records management. Metadata helps you organise your data so that you can find what you need as and when you need it. Metadata is also important for data security for both internal and external uses and can help you determine data accuracy and authenticity. Finally, Metadata can help you securely dispose of data when it is no longer needed as you will be more easily able to sort your data into valuable and non-valuable categories.

Without a Metadata Standard, you will be increasing your costs associated with data management and storage which reducing your efficiency.

Establish and Maintain a Records Retention Schedule

Not every record needs to be kept until the end of time. In fact, some records will only need to be kept for a few years. A Records Retention Schedule is a valuable tool to help you maintain better control over your records and their life-cycle.

Your Records Retention Schedule will help your organisation comply with both legal and organisational requirements and ensure that you are not retaining records that you don’t need to retain.

Document and Develop and Destruction Process

Tearing up old paper documents and hitting the ‘delete’ button on your keyboard every once in a while does not constitute a document destruction process. Data destruction should be an exact process to be effective at preventing security leaks.

Every piece of data has a life cycle and at its end is destruction. Your data destruction process should be compliant with your records and information management (RIM) policy and should be carefully worked out so as to close security loopholes. Using professional data destruction and secure shredding services forms a crucial element to your process.

Validate and Implement

Before rolling out your new data destruction programme it is wise to use a pilot programme first. This way you can see the programme in action and then fine tune it and remove any issues that may have occurred.

Once successfully tested you will be in a better position to get organisation buy-in.

Manage Vendors

Generally speaking, carrying out your own data destruction is not the best way to go, especially for large scale destruction projects. That said, it is important that third-party data destruction and secure shredding vendors comply with your organisation’s requirements.

For this reason, you must ensure your vendor signs and complies with an SLA and provides certification to verify the destruction of your data.

Monitor and Adjust

Once you have a data destruction process in place, don’t simply assume it will run perfectly forever. Your organisation’s needs are bound to change from time to time. Thus, it is important to periodically review your process to ensure it is still working smoothly and that no adjustments are necessary.

Ensure there is a Documented Hold Process

Finally, it is important that you work out and document a process to be followed should your data destruction process need to be put on hold due to legal or other reasons. The last thing you will want is an infinite pause because you do not know what to do.

Contact Iron Mountain today for a Free Data Destruction or Secure Shredding Quote.

Image Credit: Pixabay/geralt

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