Everything Your Business Needs to Know About Digital Media Shredding

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What is Digital Media Shredding?

Digital media shredding is the total erasure, destruction, and disposal of electronic media products. This process ensures that your private data is completely unreadable and your hardware unusable so that no one can access your data from a product you’ve disposed of. Digital media includes hard drives, media tapes, USBs and jump drives, CDs and DVDs, SD cards, microfilm/microfiche, x-rays, badges, credit and debit cards, employee ID cards, printers, fax machines, copiers, computers, smartphones, and more. Though many people simple reset their devices and erase the data on their digital media products, this does not guarantee that hackers cannot access the data that used to be stored there. To effectively eliminate the risk of a damaging data breach, specific digital media shredding services are necessary.

USB Data Key

How is Digital Media Shredded Effectively?

There are multiple steps that a shredding company will take to ensure that your digital media is taken care of. The most common tactics used are data erasure or software overwrites, degaussing, and physical destruction. Depending on the type of information that needs to be destroyed, there are further steps that may need to be taken for classified media destruction.

Data Erasure / Software Overwrite

Data erasure is the first step when disposing of digital media. Data erasure uses a software overwrite that completely destroys all electronic data on a piece of digital media. The software goes one step further to destroy the ability to retrieve any data using standard operating system recovery methods since it writes patterns of data that are gibberish so that anyone attempting to extract data from your hard drives ends up with a pile of meaningless data. Even when the digital media will be physically destroyed, this is a crucial first step for ensuring that no one can access your information when the physical equipment is transported off site for disposal.


Degaussing is a special step for digital media shredding that renders a hard drive completely useless and unreadable. Using a degaussing machine, a certified shredding company will employ an electromagnetic field that destroys the data. These machines comply with regulations for disposal of classified information as well, so your confidential company data is very safe.

Physical Destruction

The physical destruction of your digital media is the final step in the process. Depending on the company you choose and the type of media being destroyed, it will either be shredded, crushed, or melted. Since hard drives and other forms of digital media are often built with reinforced aluminum housing and other strong materials, physical destruction can be a bit more challenging than we think. Though many people choose to dispose of their hard drives by bending, piercing, and crushing, these methods are often ineffective and leave your data open to theft if someone stumbles upon your discarded drives.  A professional shredding company uses powerful equipment to shred your digital media into tiny little pieces that are entirely useless. If not shredded, your digital media will be crushed beyond recognition. Sometimes, your discs and drives may even be melted so that the metal can be recycled and reused.

Why is Professional Digital Media Shredding Important?

Your business’s digital media is one of its most valuable assets, and it is the most commonly targeted data in a security breach since it contains the most sensitive data your company has. From employee personal information and customer details to critical operational information and detailed financial reports, a breach of your digital media data can destroy your company’s reputation and even put you out of business.

Following a study conducted by the National Association for Information Destruction (NAID), it was found that up to 30% of recycled devices contained a lot of private, sensitive data like client information, private photos and files, personal emails, banking information, medical files, and more that anyone could access fairly easily.

Digital media like computers, hard drives, USBs, and CDs/DVDs must be destroyed a certain way to prevent hackers from obtaining information even after you’ve thrown it away. Even your retired fax machines, copiers, and printers can give hackers access to private data that can hurt your company, so trusting a professional shredding company to handle the disposal of your digital media is essential because they know what can put you at risk when you think there’s no threat.

A professional company has the expertise and the equipment to properly erase, destroy, and dispose of your digital media to keep your sensitive data private and out of the wrong hands. They have very sophisticated protocols and procedures that protect your confidentiality and effectively destroy all digital media products. When a digital media shredder handles the disposal of your data hubs, you’ll enjoy peace of mind that your business is safe and your data is gone for good.

Do you need to shred some digital media? Enviroshred can help!