Hard Drive & Electronics Disposal: Secure Destruction Guidelines

La Porte Hard Drive Destruction Services

The dangers of personal and business identity thefts are higher than ever before. With just a few pieces of information compiled together, cyber criminals can leave your finances in ruins.

With that in mind, making sure to safely dispose of your electronic media devices, including your computers, phones, tablets, and other data-housing mediums are vital to keeping your personal information safe.

Video Transcription

Why Ensure Electronics are Securely Disposed?

Hard drives hold enough information to be a buried treasure chest for identity thieves and fraudsters rather than just a message in a bottle.

When their sensitive information is stolen or breached, laws often require companies to notify all people affected—making the risks of crippling your PR efforts just one reason to destroy electronics before they’re disposed.

“Better to be despised for too anxious apprehensions, than ruined by confident security.”

-Edmund Burke

LawDon’t Risk Legal Liability

Companies take chances when they don’t securely destroy their hard drives and electronics before they’re disposed.

In 2010 when health plan provider Affinity Health didn’t destroy their hard drives full of PHI in the company fax machines, they had to learn the hard way with a $1.2 million fine.

Hard Drive Destruction Laws

Hard drive management and destruction is regulated by numerous laws. In healthcare, HIPAA compliance is especially important—particularly for how pricey penalties can get.

Here’s a list of common federal laws that apply for hard drive disposal:

    • Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX)
    • Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA)
    • Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA)
    • Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH)
    • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA-now updated to regulate digital PHI and EMR disposal

Paying the Price for Poor Disposal Practices

For an example of the cost of neglecting hard drive shredding before disposing, just take a look at HIPAA’s current noncompliance penalties:

Violations Prior to 2/18/2009 Violations After 2/18/2009
Penalty Amount Up to $100 per violation $100-$50,000 (or more) per violation
Calendar Year Cap $25,000 $1,500,000

Types of Electronics to Shred

A wide range of electronics and media store PII and other sensitive information, including:

    • All solid-state, rotational, and magnetic hard drives
    • Hard drives in office equipment such as computers, scanners, photocopiers, fax machines, etc.
    • Optical media such as CDs and DVDs
    • RAM and ROM-based storage
    • Mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and PDAs
    • Biomedical devices like infusion pumps, MRI and CT machines, ventilators, and diagnostic ultrasound devices
    • Legacy media including floppy disks, zip disks, or magnetic tapes

Hard Drive Destruction Methods

Reformat Degauss Shred & Destroy
One option that quickly comes to mind is simply wiping a hard drive clean.


Unfortunately though, sophisticated software can extract previously deleted data—effectively undoing your efforts to protect information.

Degaussing involves using magnets to create an electromagnetic field to disrupt the magnetic domains on the drive.


While the data becomes unreadable when exposed, buying the machinery is often quite expensive.

Otherwise known as absolute destruction, physical hard drive shredding reduces electronics to small pieces.


Using industrial shredders, the leftover fragments can’t be reassembled—ensuring information remains securely disposed.

Destroy vs Degauss: Reasons to Shred

While degaussing hard drives is often seen as a surefire strategy for removing data from hard drives, degaussing’s downsides rarely get enough attention.

Cost Capability
For even an NSA-approved manual hard drive degausser, machines cost roughly $500.


Manual degaussing is time-consuming (time = money), and although automatic degaussers are available, they can cost upwards of tens of thousands of dollars.

Not all degaussers are equal. To erase data, the magnetic field produced by degaussers must be 2-3 times the strength of a hard drive’s field.


With better technology now boosting the magnetic strength of hard drives today, commercial degaussers become more expensive to keep up with.

Certificates of Destruction Post-Disposal

Certificates of destruction provide protection from liability and proof that the hard drive shredding and destruction services comply with all applicable laws, including details such as:

    • Date accepted by the destruction provider
    • Date (or date range) of possession
    • Terms and conditions of service agreements
    • Destruction witnesses
    • Authorized destruction orders
    • Devices and content descriptions
    • Chain of custody for materials
    • Location of destruction
    • Serialized service transaction numbers

Electronic Recycle DisposalHow Electronic Destruction & Disposal Work

You can choose whether you want your hard drives shredded by us coming to you, you dropping them off, or having them picked up.

Electronics are run through industrial shredders where they’re reduced to pieces that cannot be reconstructed.

You receive a certificate of destruction, and to comply with EPA and state hazardous waste laws. All raw materials are recycled.

Need Hard Drive Destruction? Call Shred Nations Today

Have your hard drives and electronic hardware safely and thoroughly shredded through one of your local shredding professionals. Shred Nations works to find the best prices on high-quality destruction services when and where you need them.

To get free, no-obligation quotes in just minutes, give us a call at (800) 747-3365 or fill out the form on the right.