File Shredder Test – Do you need a File Shredder?


Take this test and in less than 2 minutes you’ll know whether you need a File Shredder.

A Note on terms: Within the industry, this type of privacy app is called a “File Shredder”, a “Hard Drive Eraser”, a “Hard Drive Wiper”, a “File Wiper”, a “Disk Cleaner” or a “Secure Delete Utility”. We use the term “File Shredder” because that was the popular term back in the early 1990s when we first produced ShredIt (although ShredIt erases more than just files). We also use the Mac term “trash” in this test. Windows users, please substitute the term “recycle bin”.


Concerned? Confused? Panicking?

  • Should I delete that FILE or erase it instead?
  • Should I erase my HARD DRIVE before I disposing of MY computer?
  • Should I erase my iPOD, USB Thumb Drive, or External Hard Drive before selling it?

No need to worry about it. Take this simple test and in less than 2 minutes you’ll know whether you should be using a File Shredder.

To begin the test, put five fingers in the air and then answer these questions:

 

1. Content Risk – What type of information could be recovered?

Are you at high, medium or low risk because of the nature of the data you are deleting?

High Risk

  • Your data may contain highly confidential clients files (legal, criminal justice, medical, social services)
  • Your data may contain confidential business files (trade secrets, marketing strategies, financial information)
  • Your data may contain enough personal and financial information that someone could use it to steal your identity. (If you don’t know what this is, use a search engine to look up “Identity theft”)
  • Your data may contain very personal information that would be very hurtful to others if it was recovered

Low Risk

  • You don’t really use your computer for anything besides games. There is no personal, financial or work related data on it

Medium Risk

  • If you fit between these two categories, assess yourself as Medium risk

Scoring

Remember your 5 fingers in the air?

  • If you assessed yourself at High risk, put down 2 fingers
  • If you assessed yourself at Medium risk, put down 1 finger
  • If you assessed yourself at Low risk, put down 0 fingers

2. Access Risk – Can someone gain access to your computer and recover your data?

Are you at high, medium or low risk of someone else getting access to your computer, and your deleted data?

High Risk

  • You’re selling or giving away your computer and plan to erase your hard drive or re-format it to ensure the data isn’t recoverable
  • Your computer is a company asset and has been assigned to someone else
  • There is currently someone with access to your computer who you don’t trust
  • You travel a lot with your computer
  • Your computer is stored where it can be accessed by many people you don’t know (reception area, very public office space)
  • You don’t use any security procedures (locked storage area, computer locking cable, etc.)
  • Your computer is stored in an insecure area (high crime rate, trade show booth)

Low Risk

  • Your computer is always stored in a fairly secure area. You don’t travel with it, and it can’t be easily accessed by anyone you don’t know and trust

Medium risk

  • If you fit between these two categories, assess yourself as Medium risk

Scoring

Time to put down more fingers.

  • If you assessed yourself at high risk, put down 2 fingers
  • If you assessed yourself at medium risk, put down 1 finger
  • If you assessed yourself at low risk, put down 0 fingers

3. Assess Consequences Risk – How bad could this be?

Are you at high, medium or low risk if someone did recover your data?

High Risk

  • You would be professionally embarrassed (or worse) just because someone was able to recover your data (lawyer, doctor, computer security specialist)
  • The contents of your recovered data could cause other people/businesses financial hardship, hurt or embarrassment
  • The contents of your recovered data could negatively impact on your business by revealing trade secrets, business strategies, financial information
  • The contents of your recovered data would allow someone to impersonate you and steal your identity

Low Risk

  • Your recovered trash might reveal how much time you spend playing Solitaire Till Dawn, but not much else

Medium Risk

  • If you fit between these two categories, assess yourself as Medium risk

Scoring

Time to put down more fingers.

    • If you assessed yourself at high risk, put down 2 fingers
    • If you assessed yourself at medium risk, put down 1 finger
    • If you assessed yourself at low risk, put down 0 fingers

 

Assessing your Risk

Count the number of fingers you still have in the air.

  • If you have 4 or more fingers in the air, you probably don’t need a File Shredder.
  • If you have 2 or 3 fingers in the air, you may need a File Shredder.This is most likely because you’re disposing of your computer but don’t think you have any data that would be risky if recovered. You can use an analogy to help decide whether to get a Data File Shredder or not. Think of a File Shredder as a paper shredder. If the data on your computer was on paper instead, would you shred it or put it in the trash? You decide.
  • If you have 1 finger or less in the air, you need a File Shredder.