Enterprise

Certified Erase Protects Data and Enables the Circular Economy

As data storage needs proliferate, Seagate seeks to mitigate the environmental impact of retiring storage devices by promoting device reuse. In this article, we discuss how data is protected from unauthorized recovery while providing economic value.

It is estimated that the global datasphere will grow from 40 zettabytes (ZB) in 2021 to over 175ZB by 2025 (IDC Data Age Report). Storing the vast amount of data created will require hundreds of millions of new hard disc drives (HDDs) and solid-state drives (SSDs) to be put in service each year. As such, it has become increasingly important to consider the environmental impact of these devices at the end of their life. This has prompted Seagate to focus on promoting device reuse rather than physical destruction of drives that will often function well beyond their warranty period. Seagate has mobilized the most circular approach—certified erase of data and product reuse—to promote the highest utility and prevent physical shredding of drives that are fully functional.

Seagate Secure™

Media Sanitization Standards

In considering the economic and environmental benefits of this device circularity data erasure approach, many customers have expressed a desire to safely and securely sanitize data that has been previously stored on drives. With due diligence, Seagate has partnered with industry standard and regulatory bodies such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), to achieve unified standards for media sanitization.

NIST Special Publication 800-88 Revision 1 is the US federal media sanitization guideline that defines the data risk management framework for various media types, including HDDs and SSDs. Coupling NIST 800-88 with the media sanitization process specified in ISO/IEC2040:2015 provides a common and international baseline for erasure as well as a certificate of erasure.

The standards define a level of erasure known as Purge. Purge applies physical or logical techniques that render data recovery infeasible, whether an actor is using basic methods or state-of-the-art laboratory techniques.

Seagate Media Sanitization Coverage

Each of Seagate’s devices support at least one form of Purge erasure as described below:

  • Sanitize Overwrite: Fills every physical sector of the drive with a pattern and can restrict drive availability until successful completion
  • Block Erase: Sets the blocks on the SSD to a vendor-specific value that removes all user data and can restrict drive availability until successful completion
  • Cryptographic Erase: Purges the AES encryption key used to write the data to make the data written with it irretrievable and restricts drive availability until successful completion

Most of Seagate’s products sold and used throughout the world provide Purge functionality by implementing Sanitize Overwrite. This method is fully sanctioned by the standards organizations and addresses use cases in countries where encryption is not allowed or in products where it has not been procured. Thus, Seagate considers Sanitize Overwrite erase a method of media sanitization that can be used in a global setting by Seagate customers everywhere.

Certified Erase

In addition to the Purge methods described by NIST and ISO, Seagate has developed Certified Erase. Certified Erase uses the same purge sanitization tools discussed above and adds an erasure document to provide certainty and peace of mind that data is unrecoverable. The Certified Erase document of erasure can be verified authentic to an individual Seagate drive. Seagate offers a hardware appliance that performs the Purge erasure methods and produces a signed certificate of erasure automatically for the customer. Those selecting a software implementation can work with our tools group to apply Purge erasure methods using standard interface commands and common Seagate tools.

By offering Certified Erase to customers, Seagate not only focuses on keeping customers’ data safe, but also considers an environmentally responsible circular-device lifecycle that benefits the planet and salvages economic value by promoting device reuse. We are excited about our environmental and economical approach to secure data sanitization and look forward to bringing our customers a higher standard of data security.

For additional information and support, please contact Seagate at: customer.security.inquiry@seagate.com