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What Devices Can Be Shredded? Just About Everything

30mm IT shredding vs 2mm shred

We’re asked these shred questions over and over again: What devices can we shred? How do we shred this? Can we shred at our location? Is all shredding done on the same truck? Are all shred the same? What is the cost of shredding?

Here are some tips to help you make optimal device shred decisions that meet your organization’s security goals and keep you out of the headlines or news.

Rule of thumb #1: Regulatory compliance

If your industry has regulations or your security policies have requirements for shredding hard drives or devices or media of any kind, do it. There’s no wiggle room here. None.

Rule of thumb #2: Shredding SSD and the HDD are not the same

Solid state drives, chips, newer credit cards all have memory chips (“smart credit cards”) and memory cards their technology is not the same. SSD have chips that are small and require 10 mm to 2 mm shred because they are already small by default. The not-top-secret requirement is to shred or pulverize the device to 2 mm. With HDD the data is stored on platters made of alloys or ceramics that can be shredded to a larger size 40 – 20 mm. However, if you’re not in tiny tech land, the options open up (and typically the costs go down) and the shred size can be determined by media or device.

Rule of thumb #3: Shred size is determined by media size (and age)

Device and hard drive shred size typically ranges from 20 mm (smallish pieces and chunks) to 2 mm (coarse sand). The more miniaturized the memory (usually newer technology), the smaller the final shred size must be.

At one end of the spectrum is older, bigger media (floppy drives, spinning-type hard drives, tape backup systems). For these, larger shred size is fine because the data is distributed across a large area. However, if your media is small like an SSD (solid state drive), USB thumb drive, memory card, you’ll want a smaller shred size because the data is housed in a much tinier space. Guardian offers adjustable shred size to suit the job requirements.

What can be shredded?

Just about anything IT! While the world is moving toward miniaturization and chip-based memory, there are many, many legacy computer systems in use that use older, bigger tech and include museum-quality devices. And many companies have vast storage spaces chock-a-block with equipment that is just waiting for a decision (or the opportunity for theft). Check out devices that store your company data:

  • Hard drives of any kind – desktop, laptop, servers (enterprise), SSD
  • System boards
  • Floppy drives (3.5, 5.25, 10”) and CDs, DVDs
  • Magnetic tape and tape drives (reel to reel, backup, cassette, etc.)
  • USB thumb drives (USB drives)
  • Smart credit cards with memory chips and RF (touchless
  • Memory cards
  • Devices such as cell phones and tablets
  • Surprises! Hidden or just unknown hard drives in copiers, printers, all-in-ones and POS (point of sale) devices

How long does shredding take?

Once you’ve determined the size shred needed, factor in size of the object to be shred. A single hard drive is quick. A terabyte server is physically much larger, so it takes longer. As an analogy, think about shredding paper. If you feed a single piece of paper in — zip. If you shred a 50-page booklet — the digestion slows down.

Also factor in the final size of the shred. Smaller shred is more rotations to get to the finer shred size. A good analogy for this is your coffee bean grinder. A few seconds gives a coarse grind. Keep the grinder going and you’ll end up with a fine, espresso-style coffee ground.

When don’t you want to shred?

We typically see two scenarios that rule out shredding

  1. Remarketing – If you have an item that has some value so you can resell it, shredding will destroy the hard drive. Instead – erase!
  2. Lease returns – everything has to be returned intact

Shred expertise at your service

With almost fifteen years in the trenches and the “inventor” of the very first mobile shred truck, we’re not exaggerating when we say we know shred. With new devices, new technology and miniaturization on the horizon, we’re always updating our equipment and recommendations to serve the market and prevent a data breach.

If you need help understanding the data destruction service you need, download our free data destruction eBook or reach out. Whether it’s a standard, hum drum data destruction project or the most interesting conundrum, our objective is to help you make the best decision to reduce the risk of a data breach.

If you’re an ITAD, MSP, VAR or reseller with a shredding challenge or question, talk to us. We are interested in learning more about your challenges.

With Guardian Data Destruction, you'll never have to worry or second-guess.

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