Do You Destroy Records Securely?

When it comes to destroying records at the end of their retention period, I’m guessing that most records managers and archivists will have a well-established program to ensure such records are destroyed securely. There are industry standards for secure destruction, including for example, BS EN 15713:2009 Secure destruction of confidential material and I know many of my colleagues destroy to this standard either in-house or via reputable vendors.

However, are you sure the same is true for electronic records? I don’t mean the deletion of expired records from network drives and backup tapes but the physical destruction of storage media. A recent report from the Information Commissioner’s Office highlighted a big problem in this area. They asked a security company to purchase used hard drives, memory sticks and mobile phones from a variety of sources and identify the contents, if any. 48% of the hard drives still contained data, including 11% containing personal data some of which could enable identity theft to occur. Given that many large companies outsource removal and destruction of hard drives and the like to third parties, can we be sure that our data is actually being securely destroyed?

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About rammellel

Records management consultant to the life sciences / pharmaceutical industry
This entry was posted in Document Storage, Records management practice, Technology. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Do You Destroy Records Securely?

  1. Arc says:

    That’s quite shocking that they were able to purchase used drives that still contained sensitive data like that! It always pays to get your storage media destroyed securely following the guidelines you mention. Especially if they hold very sensitive information.

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