Deleting Data

Close of of computer disk hard drive
The Surplus Property Guidelines specifies that any computer storage, such as disk (hard, solid state, non-removable or CD), USB or other storage medium used to store University data, must be totally erased or rendered unreadable before it is discarded or disposed of through property transfer or surplus. The Clemson University Surplus Property group will no longer accept computing devices containing hard drives or other storage mediums that have not been certified as removed or sanitized. For more information, please see the Disposition of Computers section of the Surplus Property Guidelines.

Process Overview

To have your storage media removed or sanitized, contact your area’s IT Consultants / Technical Support Personnel and they will go through the certification process. When complete, they will place a signed serialized sticker on the device. Computing devices without a certified sticker will not be accepted at or picked up by the Surplus group. Serialized stickers are distributed by CCIT’s Office of Information Security (OIS).

Disks (Hard, Solid state, Non-removable or CD), USB or other Flash Media

All devices will be securely erased (or enhanced erased when available) with the OIS sponsored tool Parted Magic. Parted Magic allows for multi-platform CD or USB boot and secure erasure of traditional platter-based hard drives, solid-state drives, and NVMe solid-state drive cards/chips utilizing the drive’s internal secure erase instruction set. USB drives and other flash media should also be sanitized (wiped or destroyed) before disposal or surplus. If the drive is unusable or at the end of life, it should be destroyed by dropping off at the designated e-waste dropbox near the CCIT Support Center.  The e-waste dropbox is a secured container that is managed by the CCIT.

Parted Magic provides an easy way to access a drive’s internal secure erase function. The National Institute of Standards and Technology rates this secure erase (PURGE) as equivalent to physical destruction of a drive. This technique ensures that the data is infeasible to recover using state of the art laboratory techniques. Parted Magic is available to IT Consultants via the shared software drive.

As an alternative to Parted Magic, IT Consultants and Support Providers may initiate a remote wipe using Clemson’s Jamf Pro system for any encrypted Macbook running macOS Monterey 12.0.1 or later. This will perform a cryptographic erase that will wipe the media encryption key in effaceable storage and render user apps, data, and settings irretrievable to the NIST “PURGE” level of disk sanitization. Once the wipe completes, newer Macbooks will return to the standard out-of-box experience. Older Macbooks (devices that do not have Apple Silicon or an Apple T2 security chip) will lose all device content, including the operating system.

Mobile Handheld Devices

Mobile handheld devices (including tablets, smartphones, and other cellular telephones) that are intended for re-purposing or transferring to another Clemson University departments should be wiped via a factory reset or secure erase where possible. Devices with removable storage (such as microSD cards or other flash-based removable memory devices) should have the media removed and purged or destroyed as outlined above. Devices incapable of a wipe, failed devices, or those at the end of life, should be dropped off at the e-waste dropbox near the CCIT Support Center for proper disposal. Drives will be destroyed, and the remains will be disposed of in a safe manner.

Failed Drives and Non-Functioning Equipment

Failed hard drives removed from computers going to surplus and failed devices with fixed storage will need to be dropped off at the e-waste dropbox near the CCIT Support Center for proper disposal. Drives will be destroyed, and the remains will be disposed of in a safe manner.

Additional Resources

NIST Guidelines for Media Sanitization