Ideally, data should end up in the shredder - Case Study

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Courtesy of HSM GmbH + Co. KG

When new computers are needed, companies often need to delete sensitive data reliably from many thousands of old computers - a time-consuming job. Thanks to the HDS 230 hard drive shredder from HSM, Uriel Papierrohstoffe GmbH in Diez (Limburg) can provide their customers with fast and extremely secure data deletion by mechanically shredding hard drives into many particles.

Andreas Uriel, the owner of Uriel Papierrohstoffe GmbH, doesn't have anything against technical data sheets to show machine productivity. But he likes to find out for himself what the machine can really do. The head of the company, with a diploma in business, is a very hands-on man. So he fed the HSM shredder with PC hard drives for a few hours. And found out: it is capable of 8 pieces a minute or 480 per hour – instead of the specified 6 per minute (or 360 per hour). This is of fundamental importance for him: “We can't foresee what amounts we'll receive in the future”, he says. So it is good to know that the HSM hard drive shredder has reserves.

As the name of the company Uriel Papierrohstoffe implies, the disposal specialist actually deals with collecting, sorting and selling valuable materials. Roughly two thirds of the annual disposal volume of 120,000 tons are paper and cardboard (packaging material). With the reliable disposal of optical and magnetic data media in the form of hard drives, the company broke new ground: “We do this at the request of certain customers”, says Andreas Uriel. Some of the customers of the disposal company who are in the business of document and data shredding include banks and tax consulting firms as well as doctors, hospitals or software and IT companies. They need to dispose of old computers as well as ensure that highly sensitive, confidential and personal data is protected, even if the computers have been scrapped. This is in accordance with the Federal Data Protection Act (BDSG). 'Sensitive' applies to digital patient records, banking information or tax documents, and confidential information important for companies such as patents, design documents, contracts or business strategy papers.

Mechanical shredding is the most secure method.
Storage capacity on hard drives is growing whilst, at the time, prices are dropping. Data collection is theredore no longer a big problem; however a secure solution is rather more difficult. For this there are special software programs. They overwrite the memory several times to render the information illegible and irretrievable. But this is very time-consuming, as you can easily imagine, if it has to be carried out for hundreds or even thousands of corporate computers. It can be faster, as Andreas Uriel explains: “The fastest and most effective way is to destroy the data storage media mechanically.”

The new DIN 66399 standard stipulates the requirements for disposal companies and has been in place since October 2012. On the basis of three protection classes and seven security levels, it describes how particularly 'sensitive data' should be destroyed and details the requirements for the machines used for this purpose. For the H-4 security level, the hard drives must be shredded into particles of not more than 2000 mm². The HSM hard drive shredder manages far more: the particles are much smaller than stipulated – approx. 1000 mm². The company supplies the granulate to scrap dealers who then separate the aluminium in the hard drive from all the other parts. The remaining parts are resold to copper smelters or precious metal refineries. This is because the hard drives contain precious metals such as copper, gold, silver or platinum, and recovering these is worthwhile.

Sophisticated shredding technology
Since the HSM hard drive shredder has been in use at the disposal specialists, Andreas Uriel has had fewer things to worry about. Prior to this, there wasn't a shredder that was sufficiently powerful. 'We tried plastic and paper shredders for a while,' says the head of the company. However, the cutting tools proved too weak for the metal parts in the hard drive. The result was as follows, says Andreas Uriel: “We had tremendous wear and tear and therefore long down times due to the frequent repairs”. Andreas Uriel found the new hard drive shredder at HSM in Frickingen. The specialists for disposal technology not only had a good reputation when it comes to the quality of its shredders and baling presses. For Andreas Uriel, it was also important that the “machines were tried and tested in everyday life and that the technology is sophisticated”

High-level security
The HSM hard drive shredder has now been in operation at Uriel Papierrohstoffe for about three months. The machine is not working at full capacity at present. Nevertheless, Andreas Uriel is certain that procuring this machine has proved a worthwhile investment. He is convinced that they will soon have a great deal of hard drives to shred at Uriel Papierrohstoffe: “The real boom is yet to come.” The reason for his optimism: the Solid State Drive (SSD) will replace the standard hard drive in future. “Then we'll look forward to all the hard drives”, says Andreas Uriel, “which will need to be securely disposed of.”

The facts

The company
Uriel Papierrohstoffe GmbH in Diez (Limburg) is a typical medium-sized company in the disposal management industry. The company was founded by Gerhard Uriel in 1949 and is now managed by his son Andreas. The disposal specialist collects and prepares mainly paper, plastics, metals and wood, but also mixed commercial waste as well as special waste for recycling. The annual volume amounts to 120,000 tons. For some time now and at the request of many customers, Uriel has shreded electronic storage media such as hard drives, CDs, DVDs or flash memory cards.

The task
On the hard drives of the discarded computers from banks, accountants, hospitals etc., vast amounts of personal data or secret corporate information are stored, such as patents, design documents and business strategy papers. This “highly sensitive, confidential and personal data” must be protected according to the Federal Data Protection Act (BDSG). This also includes deleting or shredding securely. How optical and magnetic media have to be destroyed and the requirements of the machines used to destroy the various types of media, are defined in the DIN 66399 standard. This took effect in October 2012. Destroying the data storage media mechanically is considered the fastest and most effective way.

The solution
For a long time Uriel Papierrohstoffe used shredders for destroying data media that had been originally designed for paper and plastics. With the rising number of hard drives, the wear on the shredders also increased. They were often at a standstill due to repair work. Moreover, they were not certified to the DIN standard, which specifies the particle size for shredding optical and magnetic media (DVDs, hard drives, etc.). This is why Uriel Papierrohstoffe bought the HDS 230 hard drive shredder from HSM.

Benefits

  • High throughput: thanks to the special cutting tools in the HSM hard drive shredder, more than 400 hard drives can be shredded per hour
  • Recycling: the hard drives contain sought-after raw materials such as aluminium as well as precious metals such as gold, silver and platinum
  • High reliability: the hard drive shredder runs reliably, with no down time
  • Faster service: if problems arise, the HSM technicians are quickly on the scene with the correct spare part
  • Easier induction of new employees: the hard drive shredders are easy to operate
  • Return on Investment (ROI): an estimated 1 to 3 years (depending on the market price for metal parts from hard drives)

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