Disposing Hard Drives: The Caronet Way

Hard Drive Destruction

Anyone that has spent time or worked in the IT field can tell you that at some point in time one of your hard drives will fail and die. The average life span of a hard drive is anywhere from 3 to 5 years. While this may not be true for every particular hard drive out there, the point is that whether your hard drive lasts one year or ten years, it will eventually cease to exist, leaving you with a useless piece of IT equipment that just so happens to contain hundreds of thousands of critical files.

While the rate in which you experience failed hard drives is completely dependent on your environment, I myself, happen to have the opportunity to be an employee at a data center. Between a total of five data center facilities and celebrating our 20th year anniversary, it’s safe to say that we’ve had our fair share of failed hard drives over the years. As a data center this is an expected event, but with us it’s not just our critical data and files on these hard drives but also our customers as well. We have a responsibility to our loyal customers that any failed drives will be properly disposed of and all critical data will be destroyed in order to protect their organizations.

Let’s rewind to this past Thursday. Our CTO approaches me about a great team building exercise that he thought of and wanted my feedback. He goes on to tell me that we have a decent amount of hard drives that are no longer working sitting in the warehouse. Ok…What does this have to do with your great team building idea that you just mentioned, I asked. He continues on telling me about his great idea and slowly reveals each critical piece and then, Bam! Sledgehammer makes its introduction into our conversation. Long story short, a companywide email was quickly in the works for a Friday afternoon hard drive smashing event.

Now, while this is not our normal procedure for disposing of hard drives (we typically have them professionally shredded), we figured what better way could we get together as a group and relieve some stress than crushing hard drives into oblivion. If anything, this would be considered phase one of disposing the hard drives. It’s Friday now and three o’clock is just minutes away, you could feel the excitement brewing in everyone as they gathered up and headed for the back of the building. As you turned the corner there was a pile of hard drives with a sledgehammer resting against the brick of the building. With all of us ready to grab the sledgehammer at a moment’s notice, our CTO jumps up first and with a mighty swing of the hammer that even Paul Bunyan would be proud of, he lays down the inaugural smash.

Quickly grabbing my phone to start taking some pictures, one of our team members puts a speaker on the loading dock and starts playing “Still” by the Ghetto Boys. You know where I’m headed with this. It was something out of the movie Office Space; you know the scene where they are smashing the printer with a baseball bat because it never works. If you’re not familiar with the movie, search it on YouTube, but due to some vulgarities in the scene, discretion is advised. Anyway, back to the hard drives. Everyone participated with some more than others and at the end of the event we had a pile of rubble and a broken sledgehammer.

As mentioned previously, this is not our typical way of disposing hard drives. Our typical procedure involves contacting a professional data disposal company to grind up and shred our old hard drives, which after Friday we will call phase two. At the end of the day it was an exciting and fun team building activity. Was it the most efficient way to dispose of the hard drives? No. But I have to hand it to our CTO, we all had a blast!

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