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NIST 800-88 Hard Drive Destruction

Compliant with NIST Destruction and Reporting Guidelines.

NIST 800-88 Hard Drive Shredding & Reporting

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed Guidelines for Media Sanitization – hard drive and digital media destruction.  The NIST 800-88 publication is intended to assist organizations and IT system managers in making practical data destruction decisions based on the relative categorization and confidentiality of their information or data.

NIST 800-88 data destruction

According to NIST 800-88, shredding hard drives is the most secure and compliant form of data destruction.  National Security Agency (NSA) contractors should refer to the stricter NSA/CSS hard drive destruction requirements.

E-Waste Security offers a NIST 800-88 Certificate of Destruction to help you comply with NIST 800-88 documentation requirements.

NIST 800-88 Data Destruction Decision Method


The following flowchart summarizes the NIST 800-88 Sanitization and Disposition Decision Flow Chart.  Customer, employee, financial, and health records are considered “High” security information.



Security levels

The recommended method (shred, degauss, or erase) used for destroying hard drives is based on the “security level” of the information disposed of.  When the “security level” of information elevates, so does the required method of destruction.  To stay compliant, it is critical to classify the information in your custody accurately.


NIST 800-88 guidelines classify information as low, medium, or high-security.  However, NIST has not defined the type of information in each category.  This omission has left the burden on you.

Destruction Level

Decide which “security level” best describes your information.  Think of its value, confidentiality status, and the consequences of loss.  Your clients’ names and home addresses may not seem “High Security” to you, but they may be to your client, employee, or other stakeholder.

According to NIST 800-88, shredding hard drives is the most secure and compliant form of data destruction

NIST Sanitization Decision Flow Chart
hard Drive destruction projects for the City of Los Angeles
Hard drive destruction projects NASA in Pasadena
Hard drive destruction project for the Office of the Inspector General Health and Human Services
US Bankruptcy Court
City Of Tustin

NIST 800-88 Documentation

Many businesses and organizations must now have a written Identity Theft Prevention Program per the Federal Trade Commission’s Red Flags Rule. Conforming to NIST 800-88 guidelines requires proper documentation of data destruction, more commonly known as a Certificate of Destruction.  Ask us about the difference between our standard Certificate of Destruction and a NIST certificate! 

Scanning serial numbers for NIST 800-88 Compliant Data Destruction

NIST Hard Drive Destruction

If you need NIST 800-88 hard drive destruction for your organization, E-Waste Security can help.