(Let) electronic data media be shredded - Case Study


Courtesy of HSM GmbH + Co. KG

When disposing of digital data media, it is advisable to take care, as untold amounts of confidential data are stored on our computers, USB sticks, CDs and DVDs etc. and represent a security risk, above all for trading companies. But what happens to these storage media at the end of their life? The Federal Office for Data Security makes an unequivocal recommendation that the rule for hard disks should be „dismantle and destroy physically“.

Freeware for downloading at no cost from the Internet, magnetic wiping by means of a degausser – there are various options for cleaning data from the hard disk. These alternative methods catch your attention with fast data destruction, sometimes free of charge. However, in the final analysis the price for this is high, because there is no one hundred percent assurance as to whether everything has really been deleted. None of these methods works as permanently as shredding hard disks. With conventional deleting routines, the data on the hard disk may appear to have been deleted with nothing remaining at first glance, but again this is only at first glance. This is because the frequently appealing Freeware programs from the Internet often delete only directories and never actually the entire content of the hard disk. Files deleted in this way can be restored using relatively uncomplicated methods.

Shredding hard disks eliminates any possibility of the data medium ever being reassembled correctly. Heavy duty steel cutting rollers crush and reduce hard disks to fragments – a process similar to shredding paper. One advantage of a good hard disk shredder, besides its one hundred percent effectiveness, is the ability to check the results directly. After only a few seconds, the shredding of the hard disk is completed and the result is visible at a glance. Particularly in these increasingly technical times, it is important to have the opportunity to keep confidential data out of the wrong hands. Because hard disks with passwords, identifiers or complicated protocols always conceal a potential risk. Even if these documents are no longer used or have been superseded, they should never fall into the wrong hands. For large companies, for example, the use of a hard disk shredder is therefore unavoidable. Anyone who has to delete data from large numbers of hard disks or would like to offer a hard disk destruction service, cannot avoid the need to buy a hard disk shredder. Theodor Andres, owner and managing director of the Andres Büro- und Kopiersysteme GmbH in Bergheim recognised the potential for destroying digital data media as long ago as 2013 and is now offering his customers the opportunity also to destroy other digital data besides hard disks, such as CDs, USB sticks, magnetic tapes etc. in a professional manner. At the time, Theodor Andres accordingly invested in the “HSM Powerline HDS 230“ hard disk shredder manufactured by HSM as, to quote his own words: “HSM has a very good reputation as a manufacturer in this field and I have cultivated a partnership with HSM for many years, as my company, Andres Büro- und Kopiersysteme has been offering a mobile document shredding service, for which HSM‘s large document shredders are used. We have learned to value the good quality associated with the words “Made in Germany“, the service and the good price-performance ratio from HSM and therefore decided on this hard disk shredder“. In order to be up to speed with the latest regulations and legislation all the time, his employees regularly attend HSM training courses on the subjects of data protection and data security.

Meanwhile, some regular customers are using the service, including inter alia associations, hospitals, EDP companies, etc. There can hardly be a limit to the target groups, as personal data is stored on hard disks etc. in almost every sector of industry, in particular in banks, insurance companies, in the medical and legal fields, with particular attention devoted to government departments and official bodies as well. “Nowadays, all critical business data, information and reports are stored in digital form on PCs, in other words hard disks. At the same time, the thoughts of companies are focussing on topics such as firewalls, WEB filters or anti-virus software“, says Andres.

“Nevertheless, disposal in a manner that protects the contents of data media that are no longer needed, such as magnetic tapes, hard disks or USB sticks is being criminally neglected.“ At the same time, the Federal Data Protection Act in Germany and data protection acts applicable in other countries require responsible and correct handling of personal data. In other words, data media must be destroyed in a manner such that reproduction of the data, depending on the content, is impossible or made extremely difficult. DIN standard 66399, which has been in force since October 2012, covers the majority of digital data media and defines security for all modern media. With the HSM Powerline HDS 230 hard disk shredder, Theodor Andres has achieved protection class 3 and security classification 5 and is thus fully compliant with the standard, as the data media is shredded into particles with a maximum size of 300 square millimetres. Noble metals from hard disks can also be recycled in an environmentally friendly manner.

Theodor Andres offers his customers a very special service. On request, data media for destruction are collected directly from the customer and stored in an intrusion-proof safe until final destruction. The safe is opened only in the operations rooms in Bergheim and the data media destroyed, with CCTV monitoring. Subsequently, the customer then receives written proof with a serial number and the date and time of destruction. If the customer so wishes, it can of course be present during the destruction process and be persuaded directly of the results.

Andres Büro- und Kopiersysteme: For over 35 years now, Andres Büro- und Kopiersysteme in Bergheim has been offering its customers a complete service, covering printing, copying, faxing, scanning and of course destruction of data media – from equipment delivery through installation to repair and maintenance. In 1996, the newly built company headquarters in Bergheim- Niederaußem became the home of the administration, systems and warehousing divisions, together with the heart – the display area. In 2009, the KreativKopie printing and copying shop was opened in Kerpen-Horrem as well. Andres‘ customers in the Cologne catchment area, and in the Rhein-Erftkreis, include inter alia tax consultants, advertising agencies, estate agents, hospitals, social institutions, craftsmen and hauliers, with extremely diverse requirements – in all, around 1,000 customers with some 1,300 photocopying installations.

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