University of California, Riverside


Data Sanitization

Why is it important?

The concern for information security and privacy has increased dramatically given technology advances and the virtually ubiquitous nature of electronic communications. Information storage devices, such as hard disk drives, CDs, and USB flash drives, etc. are commonly used to support all aspects of university life, yet users of these products are sometimes unaware of the need to ensure the privacy of the information stored on these devices. Given recent changes to federal and state laws, University of California policy, and various security breaches throughout the UC system, attention to Data Sanitization issues, practices, and procedures has become an important priority for the UCR community.

What is it?

Data sanitization is the process of deliberately, permanently, and irreversibly removing or destroying the data stored on a memory device. A device that has been sanitized has no usable residual data and even advanced forensic tools should not ever be able recover erased data. Sanitization processes include using a software utility that completely erases the data, a separate hardware device that connects to the device being sanitized and erases the data, and/or a mechanism that physically destroys the device so its data can not be recovered.

What Devices are of Concern?

The devices that UCR departments and organizations should include as part of its Data Sanitization efforts consist of (but are not limited to) magnetic disks (hard disks), flash (USB) memory devices, CDs and DVDs, and PDAs (Treos, Blackberries, Smart phones, etc.).

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Computing & Communications
Computing & Communications Bldg.

Tel: (951) 827-4741
Fax: (951) 827-4541