What is a Degausser and Why They Are Important

What’s a degausser?

We talk about degaussers a lot when it comes to data destruction. Put simply, degaussing is the process of permanently eliminating data stored on magnetic hard disk drives and backup tapes. Degaussing scrambles not only the data but also the servo tracks, making the data unreadable and the drive unusable. The data is 100% obliterated, or erased, through a secure, irreversible process. Degaussing is safe, fast, and secure!

There are two main types of degaussers: electromagnetic and permanent magnet. Electromagnetic degaussers generate a magnetic field by using electricity to charge a coil. Permanent magnet degaussers use rare earth magnets instead of a coil.

Why is it important?

Why go through all this work of degaussing? Isn’t just wiping a hard drive and throwing it away enough? When it comes down to it, delete does not mean delete, and overwriting and discarding hard drives isn’t secure. In a test of 200 discarded hard drives, 67% still contained owner data. And 40% of recycled and resold devices contain personal user information. This is like bread and butter to an experienced thief.  With the rise in data breaches, information needs to be properly destroyed at end of life before it ends up in the wrong hands. By 2025, 90% of all data will require security. Less than 50% will be secured.

So, will just any degausser do?

No, not exactly. The National Security Agency (NSA) publishes a list of all degaussers that meet or exceed its criteria for sanitization and destruction of classified information. All of Data Security Inc.®’s degaussers are on NSA’s Evaluated Products List.

It’s normal for the world of degaussing to seem daunting or overwhelming for a newcomer. You may not know if you even really need a degausser, or which one would be right for you. Still unclear? Head over to our contact page and drop us a line.