The Stack Archive Expert View

Shredding Vs Deleting: Are Your ‘Deleted’ Files Truly Gone?

Thu 28 Apr 2016 | Fredrik Forslund

Last year, our data recovery study found that 48 percent of second-hand hard drives contained data leftover from the previous user. What’s worse, 75 percent of those drives already had a deletion attempt made on them. So if the user had already attempted to delete the file, why was the data able to be recovered?

The majority of people don’t realize that when they delete a file, drag it to the ‘Recycle Bin,’ or even reformat a drive, the information is still there. You see, all of these methods simply remove the pointers to the data without actually removing the data itself.

But what happens to data when businesses are unknowingly using inadequate deletion methods to reduce surplus data or recycle/dispose of old IT assets? They’re not only left with a false sense of security, but massive amounts of information like emails, confidential documents and other sensitive information risks being exposed and falling into the wrong hands.

In 2015, cyber attacks exposed nearly 160 million data records, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. And with tougher data protection rules, such as Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation being introduced, businesses can’t afford to be lax with information management. Do you have any idea of how many “deleted” files you have left behind on your computer? Try running a recovery program on your PC and prepare to be shocked by the results.

So how can businesses make it impossible for ‘deleted’ files to be recovered? The answer is simple: Shredding. I’m not talking about the physical act of shredding hard drives, which although effective, is a drain on resources and not to mention terrible for the environment. What I’m talking about is software-based shredding of files on active PCs, servers and even virtual machines. As easy and fast as it might seem to delete files, software-based file shredding is the most secure and approved way of getting rid of your data, for good. What this means is it’s impossible to recover files and data cannot be leaked.


To see how easily your business can shred files and get rid of data for good start your free 10-day trial of Blancco File.

Experts featured:

Fredrik Forslund

Director, Cloud & Data Center Erasure Solutions

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