It’s time your IT asset disposal program manager ditches a murky understanding of DoD data destruction(Department of Defense 5220.22-M) by adding a clearer understanding of the NIST 800-88 (National Institute of Standards and Technology 800-88 Guidelines for Media Sanitization).
The DoD data destruction standard does not provide the adequate specifics an organization or business will require in order to run a secure program in a real world operation. The DoD does provide broad guidelines that should be adhered to by any organization maintaining or disposing of sensitive data.
The NIST 800-88 Guidelines, however, provides a detailed roadmap for creating a data destruction program built on the principles of identifying risk, life cycle stage of media, selecting and implementing appropriate methods of destruction, verifying and overseeing success, and documenting procedures and work performed.
“We perform DoD data destruction” has been a mantra of the ITAD (IT asset disposal) industry for well over a decade. But when one pushes for more specifics from a vendor or program manager one is likely to find inconsistent interpretations of the standard from a belief that it exclusively refers to three pass binary wiping, seven pass binary wiping, to a misconception that only physical shredding and pulverization of media can achieve data security.
In reality the DoD data destruction method does have recommended standards for two step erasure of drives using a clear and binary pass overwriting. It also includes basic standards for the removal of physical identifiers, chain of custody documentation, and physical destruction of optical media. The DoD standard does not recommend any specific tools, software, machinery, or provide any types of certifications to vendors or products.
The NIST 800-88 provides a clear manual that guides IT professionals to select the appropriate tool by the life cycle, risk level, and type of media. For example the document points out that a degausser should never be used for solid state media. Since SSD media is not magnetic media the degausser would not destroy the data on the chip sets. This type of granular knowledge is a must have for every IT asset manager.
Here at ITAMG we help our clients understand the NIST 800-88 model and how to develop custom programs that address unique business, industry, and regulatory compliance requirements.
For more information on appropriate methods and documentation of data destruction practices please review our short guide to NIST 800-88.