Onsite Vs. Offsite Data Erasure: Pros and Cons

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Blog Intro: This blog post aims to help you narrow down the best solutions for bulk data erasure. Explore the merits and demerits of onsite and offsite procedures to embrace the most suitable solution for secure data wiping.

Often Enterprises and Service Providers are not able to decide on what data erasure strategy they wish to adopt. While the data destruction policy mandates data removal but may not clearly define onsite data erasure or offsite procedures.  Let’s evaluate the use cases and pros and cons of both Onsite/Offsite Erasure and how organizations can benefit from them.

Onsite data erasure occurs within the company compound, under the watchful eyes of in-house technicians. They can perform data wiping of the devices with the help of reliable data erasure software. Organizations can also hire professional recycling vendors to undertake the erasure process within the company premises. As the word defines itself, data sanitization happens ‘ON-SITE’, so, the chances of data leakage remain negligible. Onsite erasure is cost-effective as the internal resources are being utilized to perform erasure. However, if an outside vendor is engaged then the cost may ramp up basis the extent of work, space, and equipment used by them.

Harnessing the Power of Onsite Data Destruction

Some evident benefits of Onsite Data Destruction includes:

Greater Data Security
Since the data erasure happens at your own facility, the process can be monitored closely to ensure there are no pitfalls, right from the start to end. Organizations can limit access to the data and devices before their end-of-life, thereby, giving more trust and confidence to the clients, investors, and employees.

Simplicity and Convenience
Onsite data destruction may have a nominal cost addition to existing project that is practically invisible, provided you conduct data wiping of a limited set of devices. It is a two-click erasure process – Select and Erase with generation of erasure report and certificate, all at once without any hassle.

No Threats Due to Chain of Custody
Chain of custody is a precarious step of IT asset management as each individual involved presents another possibility of compromise. Onsite data destruction helps you track the progress easily while keeping record of each device exchanged throughout. The fact that there isn’t any movement of asset outside the premises, the data leakage threat is negligible. 

Better Record Keeping and Inventory Validation
Organizations can maintain record of storage devices that are internally wiped. Whether you use a software-based data erasure or perform shredding or degaussing of the hard drives, all records are upheld onsite. You may use these records and reports for audit trails and final inventory reconciliation. Organizations may even perform video surveillance of the process to maintain a visual proof over and above the data destruction records.

Gives Peace of Mind
Onsite data destruction gives you the authority to decide when to wipe storage devices at your own convenience, giving you relief. The tamper-proof erasure certificate helps in meeting audit trails and serves compliance requirements.

Ideal for Non-Internet Facilities
Onsite erasure remains the perfect fit for data wiping of highly confidential information stored in archaic drives and premises where internet availability is restricted. The federal defense entity, banking facilities, forensic labs, etc. that store critical information generally refrain their staff from using internet on such devices and opt for secure on premise data erasure.

Drawbacks of Onsite Data Erasure

Despite the above-mentioned advantages, there are some downsides of onsite data erasure worth knowing. So, let us look at them to make a calculated decision at-the-end of lifecycle of IT assets:

Bulk Erasure May Prove Expensive
To perform bulk data wiping on hard drives or storage devices, organizations need to spare elaborate space along with advanced equipment to perform the act. Moreover, you may also require skilled personnel in numbers to perform the bulk procedure at once. Bearing cost of extended resources and equipment will dent your allocated budget.

Causes Disruption to Existing Work Environment
On premise erasure demands frequent supervision and lengthy interaction with the technicians to guide them about the process. It may result in loss of productivity and delay in other projects. Even though onsite erasure happens swiftly, the pre and post communication demands a lot of time and energy of the people involved in it.

So far we have observed and talked about onsite data erasure. Let’s now evaluate the pros and cons of offsite data erasure.

Positives of Offsite Data Erasure

Here are some valid reasons to try Offsite Data Erasure.Take a look:

Helps Meet Compliance Needs
Enterprises are bound to abide by stringent regulatory laws allied to data destruction. It is utmost critical to comply with the data security and privacy laws of ISO27001, SOX, GLBA, EU-GDPR, and the likes. Certified IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) companies compliant with R2 norms are generally well-aware of these regulatory compliance and adhere to them on your behalf.

Swift Deployment and Ease of Execution
From security and tracking measures to the usage of best equipment and software, professional ITADs performing offsite data erasure deliver the best services. ITADs remain up-to-date with the data privacy and environmental laws. Once storage devices are wiped of, they also provide you with a tamper-proof certificate of destruction or erasure as a proof of successful task accomplishment.

Cost Efficient Services
Instead of investing a huge sum of money in procuring and preserving data destruction equipment in-house for performing bulk erasure, hire a certified offsite service provider to do the needful. Using industrial shredders to destroy hard drives and steadfast software for data erasure in order to eliminate leakage, offsite vendors can ethically handle data disposition.

Negatives of Offsite Data Erasure

Even offsite erasure have some evident risk implications. Get a clear understanding of the same to make the right call:

Threat of Leakage in Chain of Custody
The offsite data servers are sustained by a third-party vendor that increases the risk of leakage while transition of devices between parties. A lot of people (including transporter, technician, third-party vendors, etc.) are involved in the process of IT asset handling at the end-of-life. A constant threat of compromised vigilance remains a factor that leads to leakage during chain of custody.

Pre-Destruction Adversities
A range of unforeseen circumstances related with the transportation of storage devices to the offsite facilities, warehouse mismanagement, or negligence by staff involved, may lead to data loss and cost huge penalties to the organization. Episodes like accident of the truck moving IT assets from one place to another, creates possibility of data being compromised during an offsite erasure process.

Absence of Proof of Data Destruction
Not every IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) company may use a secure data erasure tool like BitRaser and provide a data destruction certificate. In the absence of proof of erasure there is no surety of data being erased securely from the targeted media and information being destroyed to attain compliance.

By selecting a qualified and responsible third-party recyclers or ITADs, large enterprises are performing offsite data erasure for years.

The Bottom Line
Offsite data erasure ensures bulk volumes of data destruction at once, while onsite gives you the authority to perform and monitor a safe procedure right at your doorstep. While there is a thin line between onsite and offsite data erasure procedures. Neither of them are 100 percent feasible without any drawbacks. Both ensure data destruction and decluttering of the work environment. Picking the best option between the two entirely depends upon your requirements.

Certified tools like BitRaser Drive Eraser offer point-to-point control for both onsite and offsite data erasure. Be it standalone laptop, desktop, or any kind of hard drive or SSD, the software is efficient for media sanitization on premises, or anywhere with or without internet connectivity. It helps users meet the growing need of data protection within fast-paced, global operations. With broad support of 24 international data erasure standards like NIST, global compliance certifications, and a tamper-proof audit trail, there is a guaranteed proof that your data will not be compromised in any way.

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