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Self-encrypting drives: destroy the data, not the drive


SearchStorage is reporting today on the lengths to which companies go to destroy their old data. It’s not as easy as you might think.

They quote an Enterprise Strategy Group survey from June 2009 that shows how serious this data demolition business is for most companies:

  • 82% have formal data destruction policies in place
  • 53% use “brute force” methods, including physical destruction 
  • 35% use data destruction software
  • 25% use home-grown tools.

Some say that the latter two groups are at risk, that there’s no efficient, effective way to completely erase data short of destruction.  And the Brute Forcers are filling landfills with disk drive remains. 

None of these solutions is ideal. Until self-encrypting drives came along, that is. 

Drives like the Seagate Momentus (for notebooks) and the Seagate CheetahSavvio and Constellation (for servers and storage systems) can be fully self-encrypted, which means totally secure erasure is as simple as deleting the password.  Poof!  It’s done.

Seagate calls this Instant Secure Erase, and it’s included in every self-encrypting drive.

And there is no performance impact due to encryption, because it’s all done in hardware.  Check out this video to see for yourself. 

Instant, complete erasure, no performance impact, no user action required. Sounds pretty good, huh?  Expect to see self-encrypting popping up everywhere.

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