Paper and CDs and Drives, Oh My!

May 19, 2020 at 10:00 am by Flora Knolton
Shredded SSD Particles

When destroying data or media, the goal is to have it rendered useless and left unrecoverable. Destroying data means it’s no longer possible for the files to be read by an application or system. In reality, information can stay on hard drives long after a file has been deleted, so physical destruction should always be a part of the decommissioning process. Consider an investigation by the UK’s information Commissioner’s Office. This study found that one-in-ten second-hand hard drives still contain the original user’s personal information. Of the 200 hard disks they purchased on eBay, 11% contained Personally Identifiable Information (PII), and two of the drives contained enough information to steal the former owners’ identities. More and more companies are being run digitally each year and are depending on electronic media to secure their data, and at the end of their lifecycle, these storage media must be securely destroyed to maintain data security. When destroying data, it’s important for organizations to consider the cost and time while making sure their methods are up to par with industry specific regulations such as General Data Protect Regulations (GDPR), NSA Guidelines for Media Sanitization, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) 800-88, to name a few. While cost is a factor, without an investment in such destruction devices, a breach may cost the company exponentially in the long run.

High security shredded paper.

For paper, SEM has many NSA evaluated shredders on the Evaluated Products List (EPL) prepared by the NSA along with Unclassified Paper Shredders and Optical/Mixed Media Destroyers are designed to specifically destroy all different types of e-media like CDs, DVDs, key tape, Blu-ray Discs (BDs), credit cards, ID badges, and key access cards. The Model 0201 optical media shredder is a high capacity optical media shredder listed on the NSA EPL for CD destruction. It accepts classified CDs as well as unclassified DVDs and BDs, is TAA compliant, and includes a basic start-up kit with lubricating sheets and anti-static waste collection bags. The Model 0200 OMD/SSD is similar to the Model 0201; however, it is a slower machine that can also destroy classified DVDs, BDs, credits cards, magnetic stripe cards, CAC IDs, and SIM cards. Compact and easy to use, these two devices are perfect for meeting NSA requirement for various forms of media.

For most magnetic media, a crusher or shredder used on its own can be acceptable, but for classified hard drives they must be degaussed prior to crushing or shredding. Degaussing renders the magnetic media scrambled, unreadable, and unusable. This two-step data sanitization is mandated by the Department of Defense for classified data, and data centers implement this best practice for end-of-life data destruction. Normally, physical destruction alone (either crushing or shredding) is the most common method of disposal for unclassified Hard Disc Drives (HDDs); however, security-focused organizations utilize the DoD’s degauss and destroy recommendation. The Model EMP1000-HS has been evaluated by the NSA and is listed on the NSA EPL for high security degaussers and can be easily transported to the location of media for onsite

SSD crushed.

erasure and declassification. This degausser is also perfect for commercial users as well as those who prefer to have a built-in verification system ensuring each cycle is degaussed successfully with no error. After degaussing, we’d recommend our Model 0101 hard drive crusher for most lower volume applications. At the touch of a button, the 0101 will deliver 12,000 pounds of force to destroy the internal platter of an HDD. The SEM Model 0101 hard drive crusher is the only unit with a chamber large enough to fit hard drives with mounted rails or handles left on.  An alternative to crushing depending on your destruction needs, hard drive shredders like the Model 0300 are ideal for small to medium volumes, while larger devices like our Model 0305 are perfect for enterprise drives and higher volumes. No one offers as many HDD shredders as SEM that are noted on the NSA/CSS EPL as meeting step two of the degauss and destroy mandate.

When destroying enterprise drives in higher volumes, we recommend our enterprise solutions, such as the Model 2SSD solid state drive disintegrator. The 2SSD is composed of a two-stage cutting system to destroy enterprise drives that are larger, heavier, and denser than standard solid state drives. This rugged device can take up to 180 enterprise SSDs per hour at 2mm squared particles. For applications with both HDDs and SSDs, SEM’s HDD/SSD combo shredders are the ideal solution. The Model 0315 HDD/SSD combo system uses specially designed saw tooth hook cutters to chew up rotational hard drives at 1.50” particle size and solid state drives with a particle size of 0.375”. In addition to hard drives, this device will also accept cell phones, optical media, memory sticks, thumb drives, PCBs, and other electronic storage media!

SEM also offers a complete line of all-in-one office solutions that are ideal for the destruction of classified, Unclassified, CUI, and PII in office environments. A perfect all-around media destroyer that is user-friendly for office environments would be our OfficeShredHS for an all-in-one NSA listed paper and optical media shredder that meets the NSA’s 2mm DVD and BD destruction requirement. In addition, we are pleased to offer Comprehensive Office All-In-One Solutions for our SEM direct customers. These solutions are pre-made to fit your specific destruction requirements. Not finding exactly what you need? Do not hesitate to call, email, or chat with us to customize a solution that’s not detailed on our website. We’re always happy to help!

Shredding CDs in a standard paper shredder – proceed with caution!

March 28, 2019 at 8:56 am by SEM

At first glance, the idea of shredding a CD, DVD, or Blu-ray Disc (BD) in an ordinary office supply store paper shredder doesn’t seem like a bad choice. However, once you put it in the slot, you are suddenly bombarded with small, sharp pieces of disc into your face and all over the carpet; you wish that you had donned the safety goggles first. There must be a smarter, cleaner, and safer way to do the job.


You are right! There are a number of better options that are not nearly as hazardous or messy as the standard office supply store shredder. The best solution for you will depend on your volume and the importance of the data on the discs. For those with US government classified or other highly sensitive information, a machine listed on the NSA list would be a must. For personal use and lower level information, there are many other choices that are far more efficient and safer than office supply store shredders. High quality shredders include safety features and flaps to ensure the area stays clean and the operator stays safe.

Recently, some shredder companies have been pushing their new “combo” machines. On the surface, this concept seems to be pretty good for those who see an advantage in being able to shred CD/DVDs and paper with the footprint of one larger machine. However, these units have only one cutting head; one end has a slot that handles the paper while the other end does the CD/DVD destruction. Unfortunately, this is a critical design flaw that can cost you money and downtime. You see, without a separate cutting head for the paper and a separate one for the CD/DVD material, you run the risk of serious cutter head stress and machine damage over time. In addition, these Combo machines are fairly expensive, have only one compartment for waste-(paper/plastic contamination is not good for recycling) and when they break, you lose ALL capability till you can get someone to fix it.

Not to fear! SEM has the perfect machine for this requirement, and our solutions won’t leave you high and dry when you need us most!

SEM’s solution to the combo unit is a bundle package: the NSA Listed Paper and Optical Media Destruction Package for medium volume applications which includes our NSA listed 0200 OMD/SSD with Cabinet Kit for classified optical media destruction and our NSA listed 244/4 paper shredder for classified paper destruction. The 0200 OMD/SSD is NSA listed to destroy optical media including CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray Discs, SIM cards, CAC IDs and more to a less than 2mm particle as per NSA requirements. Destroying up to 1,091 discs per hour, the 0200 OMD/SSD is a great solution for medium volume of optical media destruction. The 244/4 is our #1 selling high security paper shredder designed specifically for medium and high volume office applications. These machines together have a very competitive price, have a similar footprint to the combo units, have far greater capacity, and won’t cross-contaminate the paper and plastics, so you can recycle both particles.

However, the most important reason the bundle is the smarter move is that if one unit fails the user will still have one machine to destroy either paper or CD/DVD/BDs. This is a critical point to consider, especially for those who work in a classified environment. Don’t put all your eggs in the combo basket if you want to avoid disappointment and eventual machine failure down the road.

If you just need only CD/DVD/BD destruction and you have a high volume of classified media, the NSA listed SEM 0200 OMD/SSD with cabinet will mutilate up to 1,091 discs in only an hour! Housed in an attractive cabinet and easily portable, this little workhorse is perfect for an office environment where versatility, cleanliness, and security are a must.

Next time you think of using an office shredder to destroy a CD — PROCEED WITH CAUTION and get the right machine for the job!