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The risks of erasing hard drives only with software

There are a number of risks associated with the use of software for hard drive erasing and ‘cleaning’ especially when companies want to dispose of their old hard drives for recycling purposes. Below are some of the risk factors associated with hard drive erasure:

  • Regardless of how sophisticated the software program is for hard drive erasing, not all data can be erased on a hard drive disk due to bad sectors. Bad sectors prevent software from erasing over them and no hard drive disk is 100% error free. In fact, as hard drives age, they develop faults and data degradation where corruption occurs. This means that there is no 100% guarantee that data can be fully removed from a disk using software only. 
  • Software erasure doesn’t prevent state actors or other government agencies from being able to re-access old data. The data is merely written over with a new layer of information. There is no physical removal or destruction of the original information. A major risk for security companies and agencies that want to replace their older systems.
  • Software erasing leaves companies liable to damages due to data breaches and data theft, which can occur during the disposal process of older systems which have been erased only with software.
  • Software erasure can’t be used on damaged hard drives that have failed or get corrupted. This leaves all the original data on the volume. 

For software erasure, there are clear advantages and disadvantages which we go in-depth in this analysis, however for most companies wanting to securely remove data, degaussing is an essential must for total compliance on data protection and disposal.

So how does degaussing offer a better alternative and why should you consider investing in a degausser? Take a look at some of the benefits of a degausser and how they can be used in your enterprise.  Degaussing is the ultimate insurance policy for your data needs, guaranteeing 100% the destruction of your data in all circumstances, and if you are interested in exploring our degausser machines, you can see our automatic, manual and NSA approved degaussers for total security. 

Hard Drive erasure software vs degaussing. Which is better?

When it comes to hard drive degaussing and software erasure tools, there are a number of distinct differences between the two methods that businesses and organizations need to be aware of. 

Using software erasure tools to erase a hard drive disk have some upsides for businesses however there are considerable disadvantages of the software erasing method that add a high degree of risk and uncertainty for those that choose this method of volume erasure over degaussing. 

Below you will see both the advantages and disadvantages of using software to erase hard disks and where data degaussing with a hard drive degausser or a destroyer, can be more appropriate. 

Advantages of software to erase data

  • Often easy to use, and gets the job done in a few clicks of a mouse.
  • It’s cheap, and can be applied to a number of computers and laptops at the office depending on the licence you buy.
  • Software erases existing data on the disk.

Disadvantages of software erasure

  • Every hard drive has bad sectors and the software is unable to erase these parts. In a typical hard drive, these bad sectors will not be accessible by any kind of overwrite software program, and the user would need to possess the hard drive’s original bitmap to be able to erase these. Therefore, the data in those sectors will remain and can be accessed at a later stage.
  • Software doesn’t erase the data on the disk. In fact, it overwrites a new layer of data, leaving the previous data layer intact.
  • Hard drives that have developed faults, or crashed, and can’t be booted with software, will inevitably have large chunks of data remaining on them, which can’t be erased.
  • Hard drives often possess an internal auto-recovery function which is known as a Ghost List or G-List for short. This recovery tool enables the disk to automatically save your file and document data without your knowledge to prevent data loss. This portion of the hard drive cannot be accessed by software programs under any circumstances and therefore retains key data information long after you’ve used the software to erase the rest of the disk.
  • The BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) may limit you in terms of the size of disks you can erase. In particular, if you have upgraded to 1TB or 2TB drives or larger, there can be restrictions where not all data can be erased – requiring different software for different types of hard drive volumes.
  • Hard drives also come in two types of standards, SCSI and IDE, meaning that the overwrite software programs you buy must be able to work sometimes on two formats requiring two sets of programs as one cannot write on the other.
  • Software can’t physically remove the data from hard drives no matter how many times it is used to overwrite the data – problematic especially for companies and government departments that require a complete erasure solution for sensitive data.
  • Software erasing is not an effective insurance policy against data theft and leaves businesses and organizations exposed to data leaks should hard drives be disposed, re-sold or re-used by other parts of the business without the same level of security.
  • Auditors and insurers looking into issues such as data security and data breaches will review systems and solutions in place by the data controller (Your business or organization). If software erasure is the primary method of data removal, this may be considered an unsatisfactory policy to protect and erase data – potentially exposing you to millions of dollars in damages and being void of certain insurance policies.

There are clearly a large number of disadvantages for the software operator in the case of erasing data from a hard drive, and for many businesses and organizations that choose to use this method only.  For small businesses and freelancers, this may be more of an appropriate method to erase a disk however in a majority of cases, software is not a viable solution given the high risk nature of data falling into the wrong hands, and the costs of potential lawsuits or losing insurance covers. 

Degaussing on the other hand provides some upsides for businesses as well as disadvantages that we will look at below:

Advantages of data degaussing

  • The disk of the hard drive and all its data will be magnetically erased – therefore the data will be completely unretrievable and physically no longer exist on the disk itself. 
  • With a hard drive degausser, the operator can completely audit their data erasure and provide transparent logs that prove the volume data was destroyed (see our popular DataGauss LG degausser for more information.)
  • Hard drive degaussing eliminates the risk of data being recovered either by another company, a foreign government or a criminal enterprise, therefore when a company or organization is audited about their data security processes, a hard drive degausser will ensure that data is unrecoverable in any scenario. 
  • Data degaussing provides businesses with the option to not only erase the data that is on the volume of the disk itself, but to safely dispose of their hard drives for the purpose of recycling. 
  • Old systems that are no longer in use, including hard drives from the 90s, tapes, and magnetic media, can be fully erased by default regardless of format, age or what’s on the disk. Degaussing destroys all data on any medium of this kind – which is not possible with traditional erasure software. 
  • Data degaussers are easy to operate and often take just a few seconds to fully erase the entire disk (See our Degausser range to check the speed of degaussing). In comparison to software, which can take hours or days depending on the number of disks, degaussing is a huge time saver. 
  • Degaussing can also be combined with data destruction, giving operators the possibility of crushing their own hard drives for disposal once they have been degaussed. (See our Crunch 250 Hard Drive Destroyer for more details). 
  • And finally, degaussers are highly recommended for businesses, and especially government departments that require the highest level of data security, to protect industrial secrets, information on individuals and much more. (We have NSA, NATO and DoD approved degaussers.)

Disadvantages of degaussing

  • Using a degausser can be more costly for a small business that has very few HDDs to erase, and is not ideal for the individual user or freelancer. 
  • Degaussing machines require a place to be stored (in an office, or under a desk) unlike software which is a download or DVD. 

For degaussing, there are a number of advantages over disadvantages, but most importantly, in this analysis, the business owner must understand that degaussing is a complete destruction solution for data vs software, which is merely an overwrite – and not a viable way of truly erasing data from hard drives. Depending on your use case, software may be sufficient, but for many, the high risk nature of not being able to fully erase data from the disk is likely to be far more costly for the owner when facing any kind of data breach in the future. 

In conclusion, erasing data with software may be a convenient, cheap solution to erase a volume for re-use by small companies or individuals, but in most cases, businesses will be taking a huge risk with their data by choosing this option, and exposing themselves to costs in an era where data laws are imposing strict penalties for oversights in the data space – and companies are being held accountable for failures, often in public.  


If you are interested in learning more about how you can benefit from a degausser, and what kind of machine would be suitable, get in contact and an advisor will be able to recommend you a number of options. Alternatively you can call us during business hours to discover more about our product range and speak with one of our engineers. We ship and sell degaussers for a wide variety of organizations and businesses in more than 30 countries, and can provide you with an unlimited lifetime technical guarantee on any unit you buy from us – a world first, and only offered by Verity Systems. 

Securing your data with NSA certified degaussers: What we offer

Working with government departments, businesses and organizations in more than 20 countries, we understand how important it is for you to be able to securely erase your data with a high level of security and compliance. Whether you are looking to invest in a degausser for the first time or are seeking to upgrade your data security infrastructure, we provide a number of solutions and specialized degaussers to enable you to fully erase data from hard drives and tapes.

Our degaussers enable the total erasure of data, ensuring that you can securely remove sensitive information from all magnetic media before disposing of your hard drives and tapes. We offer DoD compliant, NSA and NATO certified units for organizations and also a secure data auditing solution that enables the operator to verify and report on each drive that is successfully degaussed and erased. This provides you with a powerful, and easy-to-use tool to create audit ready reports of data destruction – essential for full transparency and complying with data laws in many countries including the EU’s GDPR.

Our DoD compliant degaussers come with a 2-years full parts and labor factory warranty along with lifetime technical support – unparalleled in the degaussing market and exclusively on offer by VS Security Products. All our clients benefit from having an advisor on standby, enabling you to diagnose any issues with your units with the support of our expert technical team of engineers with 30+ years’ experience.

You can also choose to order our degaussers with a destroyer as a combo should you wish to crush your erased hard drives and recycle them securely once you have erased your data – a popular option for many of our clients that wish to fully dispose of their old systems in total security. We also provide bulk discounts if you wish to order several units for your organization and we will provide any technical documentation or certification upon request.

You can explore our NSA and NATO certified degaussers below for further information on each unit and their technical specifications.

NSA and NATO listed degaussers

SDD Master – Government approved degausser with NSA certification

SV91M – Government approved degausser with NATO certification

Hard Drive Destroyer

Crunch 250 – Fully destroy your hard drives after erasure

We also provide a range of state-of-the-art pulse discharge degaussers which you can see below in more detail:

Automatic degaussers

DataGauss, DataGauss XL degausser with Data Destruction Auditor

DataGone degausser for high volume erasing

VS Security Products heading to GITEX Technology Week 2018 In Dubai

VS Security Products has announced it will attend the 2018 GITEX Technology Week in Dubai this October to showcase some of its latest hard drive degaussers.

Along with distributing partner RAS Infotech, VS Security Products will highlight its popular degaussers including the DataGauss XL-LG hard drive degausser, which comes with the unique Data Destruction Auditor providing companies with the option to produce accurate data erasure reports. The NATO approved SV91M hard drive degausser will also be included in this year’s technology demonstration which provides businesses and government departments the highest level of data erasure.

This year’s GITEX Technology Week takes place at the Dubai World Trade Center and welcomes some of the world’s top brands demonstrating the latest advancements in technology and applications covering areas such as cybersecurity, Blockchain and IoT. This year’s attendees will include Google, Amazon, Huawei, Ebay, Linkedin, Uber, Renault, IBM, Siemens, HP and a host of other technology and manufacturing brands. 

David Tucker, Managing Director of VS Security Products will attend the event and will discuss the future of technology and data security as well as the evolution of hard drive degaussing with businesses looking to improve their data erasure processes. With over 30 years’ experience in the industry, Tucker brings a depth of knowledge on data security and will be available for meetings during GITEX to demonstrate some of the latest degaussers from the VS Security Products range.

“We are looking forward to attending this year’s GITEX Technology Week in Dubai and will be discussing the future of data security with a number of our key partners in the Middle East as well as demonstrating our degaussers to attendees during the event. We have seen a big increase in interest from businesses in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and other countries that want to protect their data. With our hard drive crushers and degaussers, we are ideally positioned to support businesses as well as governments that wish to protect their most sensitive data.”

“Along with our partners we will be presenting our solutions to a number of businesses attending GITEX that are looking to improve their own data security processes – and demonstrating how hard drive degaussers and crushers can be operated.” – David Tucker, Managing Director, VS Security Products.

VS Security Products Launch New Responsive website

January 2016 – World leading data destruction specialists VS Security Products today unveiled its new website, creating a strong online identity that will reaffirm VS Security Product’s standing as the work leading authority in data erasure and destruction.

The new website has been designed to reflect VS Security Product’s ongoing commitment to the data destruction industry and the customers, distributors and resellers they work with as well as increasing VS Security Products digital marketing activity and online presence.

With a clean and modern look the website has been designed to provide the ultimate user-friendly experience with improved navigation and functionality throughout, allowing customers to access detailed product information and videos.

Commenting on the new website, managing Director David Tucker said; “We feel that during our time of growth its right to invest in our marketing strategy and so create a stronger online presence that reflects our standing in the data destruction sector. We hope it provides a useful, informative portal for our customers to get to know VS Security Products and our products just a little better!”

Data Destruction Auditor -The New Name for Erasure Log Manager

The All New Data Destruction Auditor 

In 2014 we launched our unique ‘Erasure Log Manager” feature to tremendous success. So much so, that models which include the logging feature our now our biggest sellers!

To help improve understanding of the system we have decided to rename the Erasure Log Manager as the “Data Destruction Auditor”.

Some customers assume it is just a software program but it is much, much more! By simply connecting the Hard Disk Drive Degaussers or Destroyer to a PC or Laptop via a USB, the customer can produce an Audit Ready Report which includes details of all the Hard Drives he/she has degaussed plus confirmation that the erasure was completed successfully.

The report generated includes detail such as: Hard Drive details (i.e. serial number); the model of degausser used; the date and time; and most importantly, details of the degauss cycle itself including the strength of the magnetic field and its successful completion! An optional barcode scanner is also available for fast and accurate data entry.

The report can be printed or exported as a .csv to a program like Excel.

To help customers see what the Data Destruction Auditor can offer them, and to demonstrate just how simple it is to use, we have created a new video.

The Data Destruction Auditor is available on all our Pulse Degausser Range.  It is a factory fitted option on the DataGauss, DataGauss XL, and DATAGONE and is fitted as standard on the NSA Approved SDD Master and Crunch 250 Destroyer. Videos of each of the models being used with the DDA are also available on the website.

Universities facing increased data security risks after breaches made public

A number of universities around the world have experienced data breaches in the last several months which is part of a growing, global problem for education and for institutions seeking to protect their data.  As cybersecurity threats become more apparent, student data with records such as telephone numbers, social security numbers or addresses can sometimes lead to identity theft and fraud. This poses a risk for people affected by the breach, and also impacts the reputation of institutions that are doing their best to create a safe data environment for their students, family members and staff. 

Universities handle a lot of sensitive data including financial information when courses are booked and payments are transacted. Records have to be kept for certain pieces of information and sometimes this information may not be properly processed or there is a lack of data security practices – leading to older data, and disused hard drives suddenly becoming accessed by hackers who can then steal information.  

There are a number of ways institutions can protect their data and even create processes where older systems are recycled so that data is removed using degaussing or a HDD destroyer. With a degausser, hard drives and old tapes can be wiped clean ensuring that historical data and archives are removed from the medium before they are disposed of or recycled. In the recycling process, once a hard drive is degaussed it can be safely crushed. 

To understand more about the degaussing and hard drive crushing process, contact one of our experts and see how you can benefit from an added layer of data security by having on-site automatic or manual hard drive degaussers, and a destroyer. 

GDPR risks grow for unprepared businesses

Businesses are grappling with more stringent data laws since GDPR came into effect last May. As data security becomes a top priority for lawmakers, businesses are under pressure to ensure personal data and records are protected. 

GDPR regulations require businesses to seek consent from their users before processing data. The way data is handled is also crucial, especially when it is transferred between countries. In some cases, countries outside the EU don’t have what’s called an ‘adequacy’ agreement, which increases risk for data transference, and therefore businesses have to possess strict data processing policies. 

Because data is becoming more valuable and important to consumers, it’s essential that businesses are implementing proper data handling procedures which includes the safe removal of records, and dated information. The risk in having this information compromised, leaked, or published to the web means that, in the process of data removal, companies need to ensure that they have a way to fully erase those records without the possibility of recovery. 

In order for a business to have certainty with data removal, it is recommended to use software erasure and degaussing in combination. The reason for this is that a business can not only prove that is has erased the physical data from the medium, but that it has also been magnetically wiped. 

Verity Systems provides a full solution for data erasure which enables companies to ensure they have total compliance with GDPR and can remove data safely from older systems including hard drives (HDD and SSD), as well as tapes. 

To discover more about our range of hard drive degaussers and destroyers, you can see some of our automatic hard drive degaussers to see how you can start protecting your business, and ensuring that you comply with data laws. 

Preparing for the California Consumer Privacy Act

Last year, following the implementation the EU’s GDPR law, California enacted a piece of legislation called the California Consumer Privacy Act which will go into effect on January 1, 2020. 

The California Consumer Privacy Act is seen as the GDPR equivalent for the state, and will require businesses to implement strict data policies to protect consumers and personal information. 

Among some of the provisions of the Privacy Act include a consumer’s right to request what types of personal information is being held by a business, a right to decline the sale of personal information, the right to know what information is being used and for what purpose.

For businesses, the new law also places emphasis on data security and protection to ensure that personal data is handled properly.  Many of the provisions in the new law are similar to GDPR and businesses will need to implement privacy policies and in cases, have a data compliance officer to ensure data is properly handled. 

Due to the nature of this new law, and the subsequent impact it is having on other states, it is a certainty that equivalent laws for other U.S. states will have similar provisions, and require businesses to protect data. 

The U.S. is also signatory to the Privacy Shield agreement with the European Union on data transference, and is continuing to work with other countries to protect people’s information when transferred across borders. This affects international businesses that store data in one country, and transfer that information to another in order to facilitate a transaction, a booking, or any kind of data processing activity. 

For businesses that want to be fully compliant with new data laws, they can ensure that data is protected through proper erasure and removal processes. By erasing records and personal information with full auditing, an organization can prove to law enforcement and data regulators that it is properly handling information, and securely removing it when no longer needed. 

In order to do this, hard drive degaussing and erasure is recommended. Brands and government agencies as well as small businesses can implement data protection and erasure by investing in degaussing equipment that can be used in an office environment. This allows organisations to document their data, and erase hard drives and tapes with full transparency. 

You can learn more about data degaussing and see some of our recommended hard drive degaussers which provide the option for businesses to track their data erasure live, and deliver full reports to data compliance officers and regulators. 

The value of the data you process is going up

Every day, businesses are processing a wide range of datasets for many reasons including storing credit card details, address information and more to facilitate payments and bookings for products and services.

This also applies to the healthcare industry where patient data is being processed and handled by a vast number of organizations that are working to provide people with medicines, specialist care and much more.

In the U.K., it has been estimated that the value of the data held by the country’s NHS (National Health Service) is worth over £9.6 billion a year. This is due to the fact that Britain’s public health care organization has over 1 million employees and handles the data of millions of patients across the nation.

With modernization efforts ongoing, the NHS is transferring patient data to digital with the use of highly complex and integrated systems to store that information across many regions and  in different specialist departments.

The NHS is not alone in its obligation to protect patient information. In fact, many organizations around the world are playing catch up with new data laws and are seeking to protect that information which can be very valuable to businesses and also to criminals.

There have been a number of RansomWare cases and others where data has been accessed and published online. Passwords and personal information was accessed and used to lock systems and force people to pay a ransom in order to be able to access their data.

Following the implementation of GDPR in Europe, the US-EU Privacy Shield, and now California’s new data law in January 2020, it’s important that organizations have data protection procedures in place so that personal information that is stored and then no longer needed, gets fully erased.

Businesses and organizations often rely solely on software to erase records, however this doesn’t provide security as this only writes a new layer of data on a hard drive. This means that the previous data layer still exists and can be accessed later by criminals and other enterprises. This is where degaussing can ensure that data is magnetically wiped. In addition, older hard drives that have been magnetically erased can be crushed with a HDD Destroyer for the purposes of recycling.

Businesses can benefit from erasing data and auditing their efforts as data compliance becomes more important in countries around the world. The value of patient data is clear and the costs and risks associated with losing that data can result in regulators issuing fines to companies that are not prepared or not complying with data laws.

Is your business or organization erasing data securely?