What’s the Difference: Data Erasure and Data Deletion


By 2025, it’s estimated that people will generate 463 exabytes of data each day. That is a lot of data to keep track of for business owners. While that data provides your business with valuable information to make business decisions and serve customers, it also comes with risks.  

Business data can be a target for hackers and cause a financial headache if you expose customer data. One confusing area of data management for business owners is the difference between data erasure and data deletion. Although both remove data, only one destroys it permanently. 

Read on to learn about data erasure and data deletion and which is best for your data removal process. 

What Is Data Deletion? 

Computer operating systems have file space allocated on your storage devices to store data and find it later. When data is saved, your operating system creates a pointer to its location. You can then delete that file by putting it in your computer’s recycle bin or formatting your drive. 

But these two methods of data deletion don’t destroy the data. Data deletion is a process to make room on your drive for new files. It only deletes the pointers and marks the space open so that new files can overwrite the previous data. 

What Is Data Erasure? 

Data erasure is a process of overwriting data with binary or other random patterns to make it completely irrecoverable. Overwriting data is done multiple times to eradicate the data and sanitize the device. Data erasure software runs the necessary patterns on your device to get rid of data. 

Data Deletion vs. Data Erasure

The major difference you need to know is that data deletion does not completely remove data while data erasure does. Although you deleted the data and deleted data can be challenging to access, data can be found through data recovery processes. 

How to Erase Data

There are three ways you can ensure data on your devices is inaccessible:

  • Physical Destruction/Shredding
  • Degaussing
  • Software Overwrite

Physical destruction leaves devices in pieces so they cannot access and recover information. It is a simple and highly effective way to destroy data, but it also destroys the device, so you can’t reuse or resell it. 

Degaussing uses an electromagnet on media and devices to disrupt them. Degaussing destroys the data but also makes the device unusable.

Data erasure software will run your device through the necessary patterns to make data unrecoverable. Unlike the other two data erasure methods, data erasure software will allow you to reuse, sell, or recycle the device with confidence that customer data or business data is gone. Certified data erasure with Certus Software will ensure your data erasure meets all government and industry privacy regulations.

Safely Remove Data From Your Devices

Data deletion and data erasure are not the same, and confusing the two could leave your business data exposed. Only data erasure completely destroys your data and makes it unrecoverable, so if you want to protect your business, you can’t just delete files. Data software or destructive methods will destroy your data so it can’t be stolen. 

Do you want to learn more about protecting your business’s data? Check out our website for more data management articles like this one. 

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