Many of the articles in this blog are often dedicated to the topic of data erasure. As many of us will be aware; in our digital age, information is the new gold. Remember the old western movies? Bad guys riding horses spent their life robbing trains for chests full of this precious metal, but today our computers are the chests and our data is the gold. Who are the bad guys? They are cyber-criminal organisations that operate within the dark web, who know exactly where to sell and how to make money with our data.
In previous articles we have already explained how to protect data on computers that reach the end of their life, highlighting the importance of removing all traces of data from a HDD or SSD. Professional software tools such as Blancco Drive Eraser can overwrite all areas of a drive and eliminate both residual user data and the operating system.
Erasing specific files
However, products like Blancco Drive Eraser are not able to delete individual files or individual folders, as they wipe everything from your hard drive. As a result, during the erasure process your computer cannot be used and the drive will be completely blank when it’s finished.
Now, imagine that you need to erase just one folder that contains images or documents, without destroying all other data on the drive in the process. You should already know that moving one or more files (or folders) into the recycle bin and then emptying it is not a viable solution and is relatively straightforward for a data recovery company to overcome. Files only appear to ‘disappear’ because the operating system does not show them, but in reality the possibility to restore the files using software or a recovery professional is very high. So, what’s the correct solution?
The answer is quite simple; use a software tool that is capable of erasing individual files and/or folders securely, whilst leaving the rest of your data untouched. In this case, Blancco File Eraser is the perfect tool for the job – in this article we’ll show you how it works and how it can be successfully used in enterprise IT environments.
Blancco File Eraser
Blancco File Eraser can be installed on a Windows PC, with a simple setup and erasure process. Just select the file(s) or folder(s) to be deleted and then drag and drop within the software interface. Once you click on the ‘Erase’ button all items will be erased securely and forever. Easy!
You can also manage the protection of files/folders that are in the Windows Recycle Bin. Blancco File Eraser shows these files in the Recycle Bin section where they can be properly wiped by clicking on the Erase button. Additional functions allow you to permanently delete system files (temporary files, cookies and other similar types of content) and the Free Disk Space, which clears any residual data still present in the ‘empty’ areas of your hard drive.
Proving that data has been erased
A very important aspect of Blancco File Eraser is that at the end of each erasure process it generates a Data Erasure Report, which is digitally signed as a proof that the process completed successfully.
This feature is essential for corporate organisations, as they can use the report to document their secure erasure processes in compliance with legal requirements (i.e. privacy law), industry regulations and ISO certifications (i.e. ISO 27001 Information Security Management).
Targeted erasure for servers
Blancco File Eraser also allows you to manage the protection of you files/folders also in enterprise environments, offering advanced capabilities with Blancco File Eraser for Server.
IT administrators can create scripts (thanks to a command line interface) to automate the erasure processes that can be scheduled to be executed at a certain time and date. For example, you could schedule an erasure process to happen every Sunday at 11:00pm in order to delete all the .docx files older than three months in a particular folder. Using Group Policy Objects with Active Directory and Blancco File Eraser, an IT administrator can also remotely configure the on client Blancco File Eraser installation so that the erasure can be run based on events, for example delete files in the Windows Recycle Bin when a user log off.
The server version also provides the ability to selectively protect files and folders on the network by extending the secure erase capability to the network drives. In addition, it’s possible to manage the deletion of files and folders on SAN storage if Blancco File Eraser can access the SAN file structure from the computer on which it is installed.
In conclusion, selective erasure of files and folders is possible and it can be implemented in many live environments without the need for downtime. Having detailed reports available at the end of each erasure process is another critical aspect to be considered in corporate environments. This is necessary to demonstrate compliance in audits and to ensure adherence to other regulatory requirements pertaining to data security and data protection.
Screenshots used in this article are property of Blancco Technology Group.
Does your business need to delete targeted files or folders on a regular basis? How do you manage this process? Let us know by tweeting @DrDataRecovery.