3 min read

Secure SSD Recycling: the do’s and don’ts

15 November 2018

What's the best way to securely delete data from an SSD?

Deleting data from an SSD and ensuring it is not recoverable is relatively straightforward with the correct software. This does differ from traditional hard drives however, and you will come across two terms – Secure Erase and Sanitize. Secure Erase will usually just remove the details (or mapping table) to where it has written data on the SSD. Sanitize will remove that mapping table as well as erasing all the areas (blocks) that have been written to. Having said this, you should always refer to your SSD manufacturer for the best method and use the recommended software for preventing data recovery from an SSD. However, one consideration when performing these activities is that it will decrease the expected usable life of the SSD.

ssd recycling

What's the best way to physically dispose of an SSD?

A number of companies offer on-site disk shredding. Much like a paper shredder (but more resilient, of course), these services chew up the drive into physical little pieces.

Can an SSD be easily repurposed?

Yes, SSDs are very versatile and will generally provide a significant performance boost over standard spinning hard drives. You do need to do a few further checks if re-purposing, but ensure that the wear level of the SSD is not past a critical point. This is always worth monitoring and if you’re running business critical applications, ensuring that you are proactively replacing the SSD drives (should the need arise) will maintain a nicer overall system performance.

Is it a good idea to give a used SSD to an employee for personal use?

While giving away unwanted hardware may seem like a positive way to keep your employees engaged, it obviously carries a number of risks. You should make sure you have a robust process for securely wiping the SSD (and any other type of drives) before either giving them to staff, or providing them to your local IT recycling company for disposal.

What's the biggest mistake organisations make when disposing of an SSD?

Securely disposing of any data storage is challenging, while ensuring you have the appropriate policy, processes and internal training for your employees is critical. Without your team knowing what they’re meant to do, they won’t be able to consistently perform what is needed to ensure you prevent accidental data breaches. Dispose of IT equipment responsibly, using specialist waste disposal so as not to impact the environment. Finally, don’t forget to let your finance team know that you’ve disposed of an asset!

Is there anything else you would like to add?

SSD’s aren’t all alike. Making sure you buy the correct SSD for what you are utilizing it for is critical. You should also make sure to monitor for speed degradation as the SSD begins to ‘wear out’, and make sure to periodically check the overall health status as with any of your infrastructure.