Erasing sensitive data on solid state disks
A reader asked me the following question:
I am wondering if you have any recommendations to destroy data on an SSD in accordance to DoD before we send them to recycle. We have a very strong degasser that use that will not only wipe the HD completely, but will destroy the electronic in the boards. SDD drive will not work in this. This is quick for our mass number of computer turnover.
I asked some of my colleagues in the hardware and enterprise communities concerning this and basically received two kinds of answers. First, if you want to recycle them, you should ask the SSD vendor how best to erase all data from the drive in a way that meets DoD standards. The vendor's SSD Secure Erase function may be sufficient or it may not, but either way the vendor would be the best one to advise.
If you're not concerned about recycling them however, you should just have them physically destroyed using an industrial hard drive disintegrator. This article titled "Eliminating Data from Solid State Hard Drives" provides some recommendations on how to do this in accordance with NSA requirements:
Here is some additional reading on the subject of erasing SSDs in case you're still interested:
- Reliably Erasing Data from Flash-Based Solid State Drives (PDF)
- Fast Purge flash SSDs - when "Rugged SSDs" won't do the job (from StorageSearch.com)
- Solid-state disks offer 'fast erase' features (from ComputerWorld)
- SSD security: the worst of all worlds (from ZDNet)
The above tip was previously published in an issue of WServerNews, a weekly newsletter from TechGenix that focuses on the administration, management and security of the Windows Server platform in particular and cloud solutions in general. Subscribe to WServerNews today by going to http://www.wservernews.com/subscribe.htm and join almost 100,000 other IT professionals around the world who read our newsletter!
Mitch Tulloch is an eleven-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award and a widely recognized expert on Windows Server and cloud computing technologies. Mitch is also Senior Editor of WServerNews. For more information about him see http://www.mtit.com.