Jan. 11, 2016, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed PL 2015, c. 188, a law that removes the environmental licensing requirement for mobile operations shredding electronic storage devices, such as hard drives.The new law does require service providers to be NAID AAA Certified, which the association says was included at the insistence of lawmakers to validate certain vendor qualifications. Currently, an estimated 24 service providers are capable of providing NAID Certified mobile destruction on hard drives to New Jersey customers.
The basic problem with a regular format of a hard drive is that it generally doesn’t actually go back and scramble all of the data. Generally, the data is sitting there waiting for someone with low-level tools to recover it. Even if you do a “low-level format” and write over the full drive with zeroes, there’s still a chance that an individual with the right (albeit expensive) equipment can recover data from the drive. Even though the equipment is expensive, that’s a minor issue if the data to be recovered is worth even more (such as company trade secrets, etc.). Because of the magnetic nature of hard drives, even when a sector on the drive is written to, it doesn’t necessarily mean the previous data is completely overwritten. Often you can pick up the trace of the previous write.
Now that we’ve all agreed that, while selling your used backup tapes on eBay or to a recycler may be good for the environment, it could also be hazardous to your employer and/or your career, the question remains: How do you dispose of old backup tapes? Do you just keep them squirreled away in storage, hoping to retire before you have to deal with it? Or do you just throw them in the trash, secure in the knowledge that the data is AES-encrypted?