(also data disposal, data erasure)
Data sanitization definition
Data sanitization, also known as data disposal or data erasure, is the process of irreversibly removing or altering data in a storage device to make it unreadable and unrecoverable. Once deleted, it ensures that sensitive data can’t be retrieved using specialized recovery tools or techniques.
Data sanitization examples
- Device resale: Data sanitization is critical when selling or disposing of used devices to prevent personal data from falling into the wrong hands.
- Decommissioning hardware: Businesses often sanitize data in decommissioned hardware to safeguard company secrets and customer information.
Pros and cons of data sanitization
- Security: It provides a high level of security by permanently eliminating data, reducing the risk of data breaches.
- Compliance: Helps businesses to comply with data privacy laws and regulations.
- Resource-intensive: The process can be time-consuming and requires robust software tools.
- Permanency: If not backed up correctly, important data can be lost forever.
Using data sanitization
- Choose the right method: Depending on the sensitivity of the data and the hardware used, you might opt for software-based erasure, physical destruction, or degaussing.
- Validate the process: Always verify if the data sanitization process has been successful in ensuring the data is indeed irrecoverable.