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Enterprise erasure audit reveals huge IT asset gap

The Client

An IT/technology lifecycle management company servicing a broad range of international industries.Their client is a global producer of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for generic drugs. With end-user IT team based in India,  the project goal was to securely erase enterprise servers located in the mid-Atlantic before the IT equipment was decommissioned and relocated.

Guardian Services

  • Audit verification
  • Enterprise erasure
  • Data destruction (mutilation/pinning)
  • Chain of custody documents


  • Pharmaceutical
  • Data Center (Tier IV)


  • Channel Partner: Business Development & Senior Accounts Management
  • Facilities Manager
  • IT Management

The Challenge

A seemingly standard onsite enterprise erasure was complicated by two factors: audit variance and time. The audit comparison and verification revealed a significant discrepancy while the end user’s international management created a 24-hour decision-making time lag. Additionally, the data center could not be moved until the full erasure project was complete.

Initial onsite audit comparison reveals over 60 missing enterprise hard drives and 2 additional servers

When it comes to data destruction, security and accuracy are everything. When Guardian arrives on-site for a project, our first step is to compare and verify the provided device/serial number comparison sheet to what is actually on site. For this project, more than sixty devices were not on site, and two servers were unaccounted for. The Guardian technician compiled a complete list of the discrepancies so that the ITAD could provide their client with all the information needed to make HDD erasure decisions as quickly and as accurately as possible.

Erasure and timing expectations exceeded

With the challenges of missing and added drives, the opportunity for inaccurate reporting and a data breach was high. Furthermore the additional time to document the audit results and wait for a response could have jeopardized the scheduled data center relocation.Taking advantage of the 9.5 hour time difference, Guardian’s complete list of missing and deleted HDDs (and their serial numbers) was sent to India. By erasing the verified drives during the decision lag time, the team was able to begin erasure of the final updated HDD list within minutes of receiving the approved erasure plan from the customer management team in India. Less than a day was added to the project timings due to flexibility and rapid, thorough communication with the ITAD.

Accuracy and communication ensure audit-to-invoice compliance

As a result of Guardian’s exhaustive comparison sheet audit and verification process, the final erasure drive count and serial numbers matched the Certificate of Data Destruction and project invoice. Guardian’s attention to detail and confirmation of data destruction made the accounting process transparent, without jeopardizing compliance, reporting, and security.

The Bottom Line

The experienced Guardian tech followed our written enterprise erasure process which immediately pinpointed the differences between the contracted job and the actual hard drives onsite. Guardian’s compiled list was sent to the ITAD who worked with their overseas client to determine an adjusted plan of action and scope. Once finalized, the enterprise erasure proceeded without a problem. Any drive that was unable to be successfully erased was physically destroyed to ensure full data security. Most importantly, the ITAD stayed on schedule to decommission the data center without risk to compliance and security.

The Details

This project was an enterprise erasure project for private equipment located in an offsite, serviced data center. The equipment was scheduled to be removed and the end user’s IT department wanted their data to be fully erased before the equipment was powered down.

  • Enterprise erasure located in a US data center for an international, offsite client 
  • Drives ranged in size from 500 GB to 3 TB
  • 250 hard drives scheduled for onsite enterprise erasure
  • Comparison sheet for audit revealed:
    • ~60 hard drives were missing
    • 2 additional servers were added upon arrival
  • 192 total hard drives were erased
  • 1 hard drive failed the erasure process and was “pinned” (physical mutilation) onsite as mandated by the client 
  • Total project time: one technician with two 16-hour workdays including international end user decision-making time

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