Flash-based memories, including NAND flash SSD (solid state drives), are more difficult to deeply and permanently erase than magnetic hard disk drives (HDDs). Nonvolatile memory express (NVMe)-based solid state drives are a new type of flash-based memory that require new technologies to access and perform permanently wiped digital erasure.
Uses of SSD
The SSD are used as persistent cache and I/O acceleration, as well as for storing data. Solid state drives exist in various packaging from PCIe Add-in-Cards (AiC), drive form factors, minicards (mSATA, SD and MicroSD) and USB Thumb drives. Workstations, Servers and storage systems access SSD via interface protocols.
Many of the early generation of PCIe AiC solid state drives, such as those from Fusion-io (now SanDisk), have reached or are nearing retirement. Above all, given current challenges with secure data destruction, most of these devices are physically destroyed.
Here are some of the data erasure issues and challenges for SSD and similar flash-based memories
- NAND flash SSD require a different erasure process than traditional magnetic media (HDD).
- The need new digital erase process and professional software to make sure all of the nooks and crannies are secure.
- Storage devices based on flash memory require digital erasure to be done at deeper, lower level. This includes the bad blocks. And also, newer SSD such as those using NVMe based access protocols, require new processes and complete erasure solutions.
- Many industries use SSD for storing and processing sensitive data.
Hence, to prove that SSDs are securely “wiped clean” before disposition, these mandates require secure erase. In addition, when choosing a modern solid state drives digital eraser solution, look for one that performs verified and complete data wiping.
Other things to look for in a solution include support for older PCIe AiC SSD, such as Fusion-io. And don’t forget to include support of newer NVMe accessed ssds. Additional features and functions to look for in a data eraser solution include:
- Compliance with NIST and US DoD secure digital erasure standard such as 5220.22-M, among others
- Support for various NVM mediums (SLC, MLC, TLC, 3D &Vertical NAND flash)
- Available Low-level hardware command based erase, including hidden data cells
- Capability to provide concurrent deep erase of multiple SSDs at the same time on the same system
- Support for both Linux and WinPEbased boot to run optimized processes for different needs
- Verification audit trails, reporting and notifications
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