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How To Certify Hard Drive Destruction


Been asked to provide a certificate of hard drive data destruction during an audit or, unfortunately, during the investigation after a data breach?

In today’s digital-conscious era, a hard drive data destruction certificate is considered an essential component of data security compliance. In GDPR countries, for example, a data destruction certificate is crucial if your business wants to stay GDPR compliant.

It’s common for today’s business operations to involve a massive movement of data, including sensitive and personal information. This is why for every hard drive that is physically destroyed or has its data eradicated, a certificate of destruction must be issued to confirm the correct destruction of data.

Appropriate physical destruction or data eradication process is essential when a business decides not to use a hard drive (or any other relevant storage medium, for that matter). If data destruction isn’t handled correctly, unauthorized parties may be able to recover and misuse the sensitive information, which will ultimately lead to a potentially costly and damaging data breach.

In this post, we will learn all you need to know about how to certify hard drive destruction, including the three different types of hard drive destruction certificates available.

Hard Drive Data Destruction Certificate

As mentioned, a detailed hard drive certificate of destruction is critical documentation whenever you attempt hard drive destruction.

The certificate of data destruction is essentially a document that provides legitimate proof that all confidential, sensitive, and/or regulated information stored within the hard drive has been securely destroyed and is 100% unrecoverable. After the destruction process has been completed, your business is required

A certificate of data destruction may also be given on physical destruction of paper documents containing confidential information, but in this post, we will mainly focus on hard drive data destruction certificates.

When is a Hard Drive Data Destruction Certificate Required?

Depending on your location and/or the industry your business is in, the certificate of destruction may be a minimum legal requirement to be able to show evidence that the data eradication and/or physical hard drive destruction occurred.

Most of these legal requirements are focused on requiring companies to protect any sensitive and personal data it holds from any unauthorized and/or unlawful access. This applies not only to data on the company’s live systems but also to any data held in any IT equipment which is to be disposed of, including unused hard drives.

Also, under GDPR regulations, businesses must not hold any information longer than required. Once the information is deemed no longer needed by the business, it must be securely disposed of and the business must obtain a certificate of destruction as a minimum legal requirement.

This ruling especially applies in heavily regulated industries/sectors like healthcare, banking, cloud services, and other industries that involve transmissions of consumers’ sensitive information.

If you are in a location or industry with specific regulations requiring you to get a certificate of destruction, it’s crucial to understand that any failure to obtain the certificate will put your business at risk of incurring financial and legal liabilities.

How To Get a Certificate of Destruction?

Legally recognized Certificates of Destruction or CoD must be issued by authenticated service providers who performed the complete data eradication and/or physical destruction of the hard drive.

To be able to legally issue these certificates, a service provider must be certified by recognized IT security certification providers.

RIOS certification is an ANSI accredited standard that acknowledges the service provider’s compliance to ISO:9001 (service quality), ISO:14001 (eco-friendly), and OHSAS:18001 (health and safety). On the other hand, R2 certification is awarded to companies that have achieved responsible recycling standards.

Three Different Types of Certified Hard Drive Data Destruction

If you are planning to destroy sensitive data on your unused hard drives and get certified for it, there are generally three different destruction options you can opt to:

1. Secure data eradication

Degaussing is a secure and reliable option if you are planning to just securely eradicate the data on the hard drive without physically destroying the hard drive (i.e. to sell the hard drive for extra cash or reuse it after you’ve replaced the magnetic drive).

Some service providers offer secure degaussing services and you can get a Certificate of Destruction after the secure degaussing has been completed.

2. On-site hard drive shredding

If you’ve decided to physically destroy the hard drive, the most secure and environmentally friendly method is to shred the hard drives. While there are other options like incinerating the hard drive or hammering the drive, they are either not 100% reliable or will release harmful chemical toxins into

In a secure on-site shredding process, the service provider will destroy the hard drive and confidential documents at your premise, so you can monitor the process thoroughly if you’d like. Typically the service provider will use mobile shredding vehicles that will use cutting-edge hard drive destruction technologies to permanently destroy the decommissioned hard drives, ensuring it’s 100% impossible to reconstruct and/or recover the sensitive data stored within the hard drive.

3. Off-site hard drive shredding

Off-site shredding is completed at the service’s provider secure facility. You can either ship your own drives, or the service provider may arrange when you’d like your hard drives to be collected. If you’d like, you may also schedule regular collections with the service provider.

Typically the hard drives and/or documents will be shredded within 24 hours, and the shredded waste will be recycled on the service provider’s facility (making this process more cost-effective for you.

Once the hard drives have been shredded securely, the service provider will send you a Certificate of Destruction.


With data continuing to become the most valuable asset in the modern age making it a lucrative target for cybercriminals and hackers, it’s crucial to dispose of sensitive and personal data safely and securely.

To stay compliant with data security regulations, businesses must possess legitimate Certificate of Destructions as proof that confidential data has been securely eradicated. Using the service of professional IT asset disposition companies like Big Data Supply Inc. is the best and most cost-efficient way for your business to certify your hard drive destruction, protecting your business from potential legal and financial repercussions.