Checklist for choosing drive sanitizing tool

What to Look for In A Drive Sanitizing Tool

It’s the reality that we live in today.  Everything is so technologically advanced that nearly anything and everything can be found on an organization’s hard disk drive or SSD drive. Did you know that simply deleting files on these drives using your operating system only alters the file’s naming convention from the drives’ FAT (File Allocation Table)? It doesn’t remove it permanently from your system. The actual data in the file remains completely intact and is easy to recover with a little knowhow.  This leaves your company and its data vulnerable.

The process of permanently erasing all data and information from a disk drive is critical when selling, donating, returning, reusing or disposing of such drives. Keeping data digitally secure is not only a necessity, it can also be a challenge if you do not have the right tools to work with. Finding a formalized, rigorous process of disk sanitization with multiple write/erase passes to ensure that all data is permanently erased and completely non-recoverable is paramount.

What to Consider When Purchasing a Drive Sanitizing Tool

There are many things to think about when purchasing a drive sanitizing tool to help you properly sanitize and wipe disk drive data.  No matter what your application, these general considerations will give you the confidence when choosing the drive sanitizing system that’s right for you.

Volume needs:

  • Determine the volume of drives that need to be sanitized each day and choose a solution that can adjust to a growing need if necessary.
  • For high volume needs, consider a system capable of performing multiple operations simultaneously also known as “Multi-Session”.

Formatting needs:

  • List the required wipe formats that would be needed to perform the assigned tasks, then choose a sanitizing device that offers these wipe formats, like DoD, User Defined and Secure Erase.
  • Does the system help you comply with your industry’s regulations to ensure your data erasure process is within the necessary guidelines?

Technical features:

  • The sanitizing tool’s transfer rate capability should be designed for current and future advanced drive technologies.
  • Look for a solution that offers network connectivity.
  • Does the sanitizing tool offer a database function to collect a record of the operations performed?
  • Does it provide a remote method of controlling the unit’s operation?
  • Inquire if the sanitizing tool’s interface supports multiple languages.

Mechanical features:

  • Does the sanitizing tool offer a cable-free solution? Use of cables, especially in a multi-drive unit, can add to cost and reduce reliability as cables exhibit wear and tear.
  • Inquire if there is a method of securing cables to the sanitizing tool to avoid accidentally disconnecting cables during operation.
  • Inquire if the sanitizing tool offers a cooling mechanism for the drives in use.
  • Do you need better EMI shielding? If so, choose a unit with a metal housing over plastic.

Drive technology:

  • Which drive interfaces need to be supported? Common ones include PATA, SATA, NVMe, SAS, USB, SCSI (Wide, Narrow, SCA80), FireWire, MicroSATA, ZIF and Fibre Channel. Choose a duplicator that can duplicate between these different drive interfaces.
  • Inquire if the sanitizing tool allows mixing drives with different capacities or with different drive interfaces.
  • What form factors do the drives use? The common form factors are 3.5″, 2.5″, 1.8″ M.2/NVMe.
  • For proprietary form factors, such as enclosed drives, make sure the unit can accommodate them.
  • If ease of use is important, select one with a touchscreen and user-friendly interface.

Service and Support:

  • Choose a company with long term experience, offering support in the USA and internationally.
  • Inquire about the warranty and repair options offered. The manufacturer should be capable of performing repairs within a reasonable time period as well as provide spare parts with short notice.
  • Inquire about the method used to update the tool’s software and firmware. The upgrade process should be user-friendly and free of charge, since these units are a long-term investment.

If your environment requires some special features not commonly available, look for a manufacturer that can customize a solution for your particular needs – if your drive inventory includes drives with a special interface connector, make sure you choose a company that’s willing to develop the necessary adapters. Make sure that the listed features and options come standard with original purchase, so you are getting the functionality you expect.

No matter what your application, these general considerations will give you assurance when choosing the right drive sanitizing tool.

Could one of these units handle your sanitization and wiping needs?