Pile of old discarded laptops on shelf waiting to be wiped

What is a Computer Wipe or Data Cleaning?

Wiping a computer, a laptop, or simply wiping data is the process of removing data and information from a computer or laptop in such a way that it can't be accessed by someone else. It’s crucial to electronic safety to do it safely and correctly, and that applies to individuals and even more so for businesses since data now is more powerful than ever.

The subject is so important that services exist out there specifically dedicated to carrying this out correctly. With the daily use of electronics and data on such a constant increase across all walks of life, understanding how to manage and safely wipe data and computers has truly never been more crucial to our online safety.

Why is it Important to Wipe Data, Laptops and Computers?

Computers and laptops, whether part of a business or used by an individual, store all kinds of data. That data can be financial, demographical, legal, or simply personal, among other data types. Any and all of these can be just as important as the next. They can be our prized possessions, assets or business details that are not meant for the public eye. This is precisely why ensuring proper erasure when you're finished with the device is so important. That's without going into the legalities of larger situations.

When looking at data wiping and wiping laptops & computers clean for a business, as an example, things are more complex. Doing it correctly can actually be even more serious than running the risk of your files or information falling into the wrong hands. Organisations of course hold all manner of different information about resources, finances and customers or clients. Every single one of these things can cross over into legally protected areas, and if any of them are in breach of something like GDPR, it can be a real problem for everyone involved.

Can Anyone Wipe Computers or Data?

Technically, anyone can wipe clean the data from a computer or laptop on a personal machine, as long as they have the correct permissions (admin permissions) to do so. For individuals, that's normally not an issue. When looking to wipe the data from computers or laptops on a commercial or business level, however, it's highly unlikely that everyone in the organisation has these permissions. It may lay with an external IT agency, an in-house team, or even the MD of smaller operations, even if they aren’t quite sure what they're doing yet.

This is precisely why organisations and even charitable organisations like Computer Aid exist. By offering official data wiping services at the point of donation, you can rest assured that your data will be wiped completely and made untraceable before your machines can be used by anyone else. That applies no matter how the machines are donated and in what condition. By using the latest technologies, the team are able to completely erase all traces of data before the machines are repurposed or recycled to ensure that there is no risk possible and all removals are GDPR compliant.