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An Introduction to Degaussing and Degaussers

Degaussers.eu has been developed to become the leading provider of high performance Bulk Degaussing Products to meet the requirements of Central and Local Government Departments, Commercial Organisations including Banks, Credit Card Companies, Healthcare Providers, Educational Institutions and anyone that stores sensitive information, by supplying machines that have been tested and approved by the National Security Agency NSA/CSS, which in turn are accepted by the CESG, the National Technical Authority for approving degaussers in the UK, to sanitise product to the Highest Level.
Our Suppliers have been manufacturing suitable degaussing products for more than 25 years to support the Department of Defense (DoD) requirements for complete erasure of Classified or Sensitive Magnetic Storage Devices therefore guaranteeing the complete erasure of data stored on existing and future magnetic data storage formats.
All of the degaussers listed are featured in the NSA/CSS Evaluated Products List-Degausser (EPL-Degausser) and will help you meet the Degaussing Security Guidelines and Standard for other institutions including:
  • CESG The National Technical Authority for Information Assurance
  • HIPAA Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
  • FACTA Fair and Accurate Credit Reporting Act
  • GLBA Graham-Leach-Billy Act
  • PIPEDA Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act
  • FISMA Federal Information Security Management Act
  • EPA Environmental Protection Act
  • NIST National Institute of Standards and Technology - Guidelines for Media Sanitization
  • NSA National Security Agency - NSA/Central Security Service Policy Manual 9-12
  • DoD United States Department of Defense - Security Standards
  • PCI DSS Payment Card Industry - PCI Data Security Standard
  • SOX Sarbanes-Oxley Act
  • Basel Accords Basel I, Basel II
Please note that as different Government Departments are mandated to destroy or delete information by certain procedures depending on the Security Level of the information held on the Media it is always suitable to discuss your particular requirements with your Security Advisor as to the correct procedure required.

What is Degaussing?

A degausser, in concept, is a simple product that erases information stored on Magnetic Storage Devises that retain Classified or Sensitive Data. In the recording process, Media that is recorded to its saturation level is then magnetized. The Magnetization is known as the Magnetic Flux Density which is measured in "Gauss". Therefore, reducing the flux back to zero is technically known as "Degaussing".
Degaussing is undertaken by applying a strong magnetic field to reduce the media's Magnetic Flux Density back to zero. During degaussing the Magnetic Media is passed through a powerful alternating Magnetic Field to rearrange the pattern of the Magnetic Particles, completely removing any resemblance to the previously recorded signal.
The strength of this Magnetic Field is determined by the "Coercivity" of the Media's Magnetic Particles and Coercivity is measured in units which are known as "Oersteds". The higher the Oersted rating of the Media, the more difficult it is to change the Magnetic Flux Density back to zero.

Why Degauss?

It is common today to hear about instances of private or confidential data being found on IT equipment that has been returned, donated, sold or disposed of. Degaussing will permanently erase this information from hard drives and data tape in seconds, preventing the unauthorized retrieval of this data. Degaussing will also permanently erase the data from non-functioning hard drives and data tape allowing the media to be safely returned to the manufacturer or to be disposed.
Degaussing gives you in-house control of all sensitive and private information. Computers have been designed to be resilient by allowing information to be recovered if accidentally deleted or even if the Hard Drive has been reformatted. Even after the deletion or reformatting of a Hard Drive, certain magnetic patterns of existing data still exist on the disk platters. By degaussing the disk it demagnetizes the entire hard drive including the disk platters which in turn leaves no magnetic patterns on the hard drive.
Once degaussed correctly and to a suitable standard, the hard drive will be completely unusable and will not be recognized by your computer. In fact, the erasure is so deep that the factory written servo tracks on the disk platters are also demagnetized, leaving no reference points for the disk read heads to key in on.
Please Note: broken or non-working hard drives still contain all of the original data and information which can very easily be recovered. Degaussing provides the quickest and most complete erasure of all hard drives.

When should I degauss my media?

Media should always be degaussed before it is disposed of for any reason. If you change laptops or PCs, when you have transferred all of the information you require, always remove the hard drive and degauss the information before disposing of the computer. Even if your hard drive has been damaged or is non-operational and the information does not play on your computer, the information is generally still retained on the storage platter and can usually be very easily retrieved. Always remember that drives do not have to be hooked up to your computer for the information to be read or to be degaussed.

Are Hard Drives re-usable after Degaussing?

Hard Drives are not reusable after degaussing because our degaussers erase all of the data, the formatting of the disk, and the control track/servo track information. This information is contained on hard drives in magnetic patterns which are removed; completely eliminating the possibility of recovery.