Tag Archives: data destruction

Guidelines for Media and Data Sanitization: Protecting Confidentiality

Media sanitization is a critical process that organizations must undertake when retiring or repurposing information systems. The goal is to ensure that sensitive data stored on media remains protected throughout the retirement process. NIST Special Publication 800-88 provides valuable guidance on media sanitization, emphasizing the need to safeguard the confidentiality of recorded information. There are two primary types of media: hard copy and electronic. Each requires specific measures to render data inaccessible. The process of sanitizing media involves three categories: Clear, Purge, and Destroy. Clear employs logical techniques to protect against simple data recovery methods, while Purge utilizes physical or logical techniques to make data recovery infeasible. Destroy involves techniques that deform or destroy the media, preventing any future use for data storage. Cryptographic Erase (CE) is an effective method when encryption is involved, rendering the data unrecoverable without the encryption key. Physical destruction techniques such as bending, drilling, cutting, shredding, and thermal destruction provide a robust defense against data recovery. By following these guidelines, organizations can effectively protect the confidentiality of sensitive information throughout the retirement process, mitigating the risks associated with data exposure and unauthorized access.