Difference Between Physical and Digital Data Destruction

Shredded hard drives and Sadoff logo 18

When you need data destruction services, you will find two options available to you, physical data destruction and digital data destruction. Which type of data destruction is right for you? Of course, the team at Sadoff E-Recycling & Data Destruction can help you make the right decision, but it may also help if you understand the difference between physical and digital data destruction.

Physical Data Destruction Vs Digital Data Destruction

hard drive disintegratingYou can probably guess the primary differences between these two types of data destruction. Digital data destruction is similar to a hard drive format, but much more thorough because, as you may know, a hard drive format isn’t a perfect method for destroying drive data.

Physical data destruction is quite literal. The drive is actually physically destroyed, or more accurately, shredded. This requires a specialized hard drive shredder to ensure all data is wiped and unrecoverable, so don’t go looking for a wood chipper to throw those drives into. You won’t be happy with the results and neither will your wood chipper.

Read More: Who Owns Liability When You Recycle Hard Drives?

Which is Better Physical or Digital Data Destruction?

In truth, both physical and digital data destruction are just as effective at destroying data. Part of the difference comes down to how the drive is to be recycled. Digital destruction is focused on re-use as the drive remains intact though all the data is thoroughly wiped.

With physical destruction, the drive is shredded which not only destroys the data, but allows the components of the drive to be sorted, melted down, and their materials recycled. In many cases, the decision between physical and digital data destruction will actually come down to drive type.

Mechanical Drives

Mechanical drives, which are the ones with platters and rpm ratings are typically destined for physical destruction as there isn’t much of a secondary market for these types of drives. They are slow, often loud, not suited for modern laptops, and are typically worth more in scrap than they would be on the secondary market.

Solid State Drives

Solid-state drives are the more modern alternative. Most modern computers and pretty much all modern laptops will employ this type of drive  They do not have any moving parts, are much smaller, and are often more data-dense. This type of drive lends itself well to digital data destruction and there is still a strong secondary market for this type of hard drive. However, this can vary as older drives may no longer hold data well and may not be able to keep up with current expectations.

Avoid a Third-Party Data Breach

Use Sadoff For Data Destruction

You can rely on Sadoff E-Recycling & Data Destruction to handle your data destruction no matter what you have or what your needs are. We can handle both physical and digital data destruction all following the most up-to-date standards and practices as outlined by programs like our R2 certification. If you have data that needs destruction, you can contact Sadoff for a quote today!


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