Kent company offers 'low-tech' hard disk destruction product

A small company based in Kent is set to make a splash in the hard disk destruction market.

A small company from Kent is gaining a lot of attention for its low-tech solution to a very tricky information security proble: how to provide hard disk destruction services.

While other companies can offer to wipe the data securely, or degauss the platter, or even sell expensive hydraulic equipment to carry out the physical destruction, newcomer Bustradrive Ltd has come up with a hand-cranked device based on the mechanism taken from a car-jack.

The steel device, which costs £249, takes a standard laptop hard drive and destroys it by driving a solid steel bolt up through the middle, rendering it unusable.

The product is the idea of IT manager Ross Walterton, whose wife runs the business. "We always have drives at work that need to be disposed of, and we have to know the data is properly destroyed. This seemed like a simple and cheap solution, and it's a lot safer and more effective than trying to hit the drive with a hammer," he said.

Walterton contacted fellow motorbike rider Toby Brigden, a pressure welder by trade, who turned the concept into a marketable product that has now been patented. Walterton said the company has sold around 80 to 90 units so far via its website. But taking a small stand at the Infosecurity Europe 2010 exhibition brought it to the attention of some rather sizable potential customers.

One visitor from the Ministry of Defence, he said, had explained that the British Army had more 5,000 disk drives in Afghanistan that would need to be destroyed before they left the country.

"He was talking about putting one of these in the back of every Land Rover so they could break up the drives on the spot," Walterton said.

While Bustadrive lacks the money to put the device through full CESG certification, he said, it could still play a role by making drives completely unreadable to all but the most determined criminal.

"When you rely on a service to go and break up disks for you," Walterton said, "you can never be absolutely sure they've done it."

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