Understanding Levels of Degaussing Power

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Understanding Levels of Degaussing Power

While levels of degauss can vary greatly based on a variety of factors, there are really only two classifications of degausser that matter:

  • NSA Evaluated Degausser for Classified Data
  • Non NSA Evaluated Degausser for all other

Non-NSA evaluated degaussers – Appropriate for virtually all commercial use applications as well as some government and military uses. Non-NSA evaluated degaussers are typically smaller, lighter and less expensive than NSA evaluated degaussers. Their degaussing strength may be similar to or greater than NSA levels but they have not been submitted for NSA testing.

NSA Evaluated Degaussers – Classified data stored on magnetic media must be degaussed in an NSA evaluated degausser. The National Security Agency performs tests on degaussers to judge their ability to remove data. The units that they deem effective for these purposes are listed on the NSA Degausser Evaluated Products List. If a degausser is not on the EPL, it cannot be used to degauss classified media. Degaussed drives typically cannot be re-used or re-purposed regardless of the type of degausser.

A Partial List of Media That Can Be Degaussed

  • Magnetic Hard Drives: All types including LMR and PMR.
  • Computer Tapes: DLT, SDLT, LTO, QIC,
  • DAT, Travan, AIT, 8mm-
  • Removable Disks (floppy): 5.25” & 3.5” Floppy,
  • ZIP, JAZZ, REV, Syquest- Audio Tapes: Cassette, Mini/Micro
  • Cassette, Reel-to-Reel
  • Video Tapes: VHS, Beta, SVHS, Mini DV, 8mm,
  • Items That Can’t Be Degaussed

Solid state drives (SSD) that store data on interconnected flash memory chips can NOT be erased with a degausser.

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