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Removal of Data from Electronic Media

The Commonwealth's Standard for Removal of Data from Electronic Media (pdf) requires that all data on computers and other electronic devices be erased or rendered inaccessible by destruction of the media. The standard stipulates that when data is erased from electronic devices it must be done in accordance with the Department of Defense's standard for data wiping. Information Technology provides services in support of William & Mary's departmental compliance with the standard.

IT takes full responsibility for the removal of data from electronic equipment leased through the university's Equipment Service Program (ESP). This includes completing the form required by Property Control to verify the data has been removed. For ESP computers, no action is required by individual departments.

If a department plans to surplus purchased electronic equipment, IT will lend out a utility known as Killdisk, along with complete instructions for using the software. Departments are responsible for setting up the units and running the software. This software has been tested and verified and will erase all data in accordance with the Department of Defense standard required by the Commonwealth. The form required by Property Control for pick up and transfer to surplus is the department's responsibility.

IT has a 'degausser.' A degausser will erase all data to the Department of Defense standard but will also render the hard drive useless for the future.  Departments have two options for degaussing hard drive. First, IT will degauss hard drives for a cost of $25.00 per hard drive. Departments are responsible for removing the hard drive from the computer and bringing it to the Technology Support Center for degaussing.  Second, departments can schedule a time with the Technology Support Center to use the degausser to wipe the drive themselves.  The support center will provide training and advise the department representative on the proper process.

If a department chooses to destroy the electronic media rather than erase the data, they must do so at their own discretion and are still responsible for completing the form required by Property Control.