Governments spend millions to destroy SSDs - report

Up to $17 million are spent on the physical destruction of solid-state drives (SSD), with an additional $40 million spent on replacements.

Eagerness to delete sensitive data can be bad for the environment. According to a recent report by Blancco, SSD destruction and replacement cost up to $7.3 million in the US and up to $6.9 million in the UK.

A survey of hundreds of government employees in nine countries shows that while 93% of organizations have defined plans to reduce the environmental impact caused by destroying IT equipment, only 21% actively implement those plans.

Interestingly enough, 54% of respondents agree that the reuse of SSDs would be better for the environment. 41% of respondents said their governments mandate the physical destruction of hard drives for security reasons.

While formatting the SSDs to sanitize them might not be sufficient enough, the authors of the report insist there are more environment-friendly ways to delete the data than physically destroying the drives.

“We’ve seen several public sector departments benefit from moving away from destroying data-bearing assets to reusing them or building up the circular economy. Our study highlights that there are significant opportunities for policy reform surrounding SSD data protection as national policymakers seek to steward financial, environmental, and data resources entrusted to their care,” said Alan Bentley, President of Global Strategy at Blancco.

However, the report shows that environmental concerns are not on the top of the list for most governments as up 52% of respondents said physically destroying SSDs is the cheapest way to get rid of the data.

As much as 35% believe there is no certified or approved solution that would allow discarding data without physical destruction of the hard drives.

“Public sector organizations must explore SSD sanitization alternatives to demonstrate prudent use of agency funds and a greater contribution to national and international sustainability efforts,” Bentley said.

Data for the survey was gathered from 596 government employees from nine countries: the US, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, India, and Australia.

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