We live in an increasingly data-driven world. Insight is now powering business in ways never previously considered possible. Data stores and sources have become a kind of second currency which organisations can leverage against their competitors. Also, the company which truly understands its customers is now the company which succeeds in the marketplace.
A brave new world, indeed, but within this diverse and exciting landscape we find a multitude of challenges and risks, not least when it comes to data security. Now, the ability to control, manage and protect data is paramount, which is why secure remote file deletion has become vital.
The Danger of Careless Deletion
Anyone who works with computers—which, nowadays, is most of us—knows how difficult it can be to achieve total deletion. Files are backed-up, copied, and stored in additional locations. Systems are put in place to prevent accidental wiping of important data. These elements combine to make deleting the files we need to remove tricky, particularly if we are working from a remote location.
The dangers of leaving files stored on neglected hard drives were underlined in 2015, when a medical association in the United States accidentally leaked the personal data of over 39,000 of its clients. The Indiana State Medical Association or ISMA was transporting its physical data storage units when theft of two hard drive units occurred. This put tens of thousands of individuals at risk of having their private information invaded.
While these numbers are far lower than those associated with a traditional black hat hacking operation—the 80 million records lost by insurance company Anthem in 2015, for example—they do represent a major concern in data security. What’s more, such a breach is relatively easy to avoid.
In Asian markets, any organisation working with personal or private data has the duty to protect that data. In early 2017, two companies were fined 10,000 Singaporean dollars each after failing to secure data on their systems.
A Guide to Proper Remote File Deletion
If you have direct access to your system, you can use erasion tools to permanently wipe all traces of a file from your hard drive. These tools are important because simple deletion, via the file manager structures found within a Windows or Mac OS, tend to be incomplete, leaving files still recoverable within the system.
If you are working remotely, the process becomes a little more challenging. You may not be able to personally check on the results of the deletion. This means you will have to trust the protocols you have in place.
Cloud computing and file storage structures often provide remote file deletion tools and services, which can be employed by system administrators. The first step towards robust data security in this regard is to only work with cloud providers who can also offer this function.
For physical storage, located geographically and not in the cloud, deletion becomes a little more complex and difficult to manage. However, business integration tools and remote screen view can assist network administrators as they remove files, wherever in the world they may be.