Securely deleting data

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Hard Drive and Eraser

When you delete a file from your computer it may appear to be gone but in reality the information remains on the hard drive.

All that has been removed is the link to the file and until new data is written to the same position on the drive, the file can still be retrieved.

This is no problem during the day to day operation of your computer but if you ever sell your computer or gift it to someone you should take precautions to ensure your data is securely removed.

To do so you simply have to ensure the hard drive is overwritten with multiple passes of data.

The tool that we use in house to do this is called DBAN.

DBAN is free erasure software designed for the personal user. It automatically deletes the contents of any hard disk that it can detect. This method prevents identity theft before recycling a computer. DBAN is also a commonly used solution to remove viruses and spyware from Microsoft Windows installations.https://www.dban.org/

If you want to be more proactive with your data security on a daily basis and securely delete files as and when you are finished with them, you can look to the open source program called Eraser.

This free to use program adds an option to your right click menu that allows the secure removal of files by overwriting the data.

Eraser Menu

Disposing of a hard drive

If you no longer require your hard drive you can employ the services of a hard drive recycling company that will securely destroy the drive.

Alternatively, you could take matters into your own hands and break out a hammer! Of course, we don’t endorse or recommend doing so!

Network Attached Storage (NAS) for small business

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Inside your computer or PC is a component called a hard drive.  This device is responsible for storing your files, music and pictures.

Hdd

Unless you store your files using a cloud service like Microsoft One Drive or Google Drive your information will exist only on this component.

While hard drives are quite robust, they are, in most cases mechanical, and suffer from general wear and tear. With age they can also begin to operate at higher temperatures which speeds up the onset of a malfunction.

Data backup is often overlooked within small businesses with many people using USB flash drives or external hard drives to back up their information. This is a good start, especially if the process is automated and does not require manual intervention e.g. copy and pasting files across to an external hard drive.

The next step up from this, for additional piece of mind, would be what is called ‘Network Attached Storage’. One of these devices can provide an enhanced level of disaster recovery, and for the price, offers great value for money.

network-attached-storage

A basic NAS device is simply a box containing multiple hard drives. It connects to your router which in turn allows your computer to connect to it. You access files as you would a normal folder on your computer. In addition, as it is connected to your network, you can allow multiple computers to connect to this device. Great if you have resources that needs to be accessed by other staff members.

NAS devices can operate standalone but also have the ability to communicate via the Internet. This means that is possible to have your information backed up on the NAS and then again to a NAS or Server in another location.

The thing that makes Network Attached Storage so great in terms of resilience is the way your information is stored. Inside the box will be two hard drives (sometimes more), each making a separate copy of your data. If a drive fails, then the other will still have all your data. What is also good is that you can simply remove the faulty drive, put in a new one and the data will be copied back across.

Here at our office we use Network Attached Storage to great effect. All our files are stored on the device and are again backed up to an offsite location for additional redundancy.

Prices start at around £230 for a business quality NAS device with 750GB of storage.


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