Why, When, and How to Destroy Your Hard Drives

A person holding an open laptop standing with hand on head in confusionAlthough millions of pages of sensitive documents can be stored on a single hard drive, many companies do not have an official data destruction plan. In this blog, we discuss why, when, and how to destroy your hard drives.


Recovering data from erased hard drives is easier than you think. Armed with rudimentary skills and easily-obtainable software, thieves can extract valuable personally identifiable information (PII) from a “wiped” device. A recent study by the National Association of Information Destruction (NAID) found that 40 percent of used electronic devices sold on the secondhand market contained PII. Physical destruction is the only method for completely destroying data stored on hard drives and other data storage devices.

There are also environmental ramifications to discarding hard drives in trash receptacles. Toxins from hard drives that end up in landfills pollute valuable ecological resources. Being a good steward of the Earth means destroying your hard drives in a secure and environmentally-responsible manner.


Confidential data can fall into the wrong hands any time, so your outdated and unwanted hard drives should be shredded as soon as they expire—or when they reach a final disposition date. A hard drive shredding company can assess your data destruction needs and set up a scheduled or one-time hard drive shredding solution.


A reputable hard drive shredding provider offers secure, physical destruction of your hard drives. A uniformed and background-screened shredding technician comes to your business and collects your hard drives. During collection, the bar code of each device is scanned and the device is immediately transferred to a secure, GPS-tracked vehicle for transport to the shredding plant.

At the shredding plant, a state-of-the-art shredder applies 20,000 pounds of conical force onto the platter of the drive. This massive force crushes the hard disk’s spindle, forms ripples in the platter and cuts it into pieces, rendering its stored data irrecoverable. The electronic waste is separated and recycled through a raw-material extraction process so it can be used produce new metal and plastic products.

To make sure your business complies with state and federal privacy laws, your shredding provider can provide you with a Certificate of Destruction listing each shredded hard drive and the corresponding serial number.

Richards & Richards offers shredding, hard drive destruction, media destruction, and electronics recycling solutions for businesses throughout Nashville. For more information about hard drive shredding services, please call us at 615-242-9600 or complete the form on this page.

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