Similar to USB drives, Solid State Drives (SSDs) have no moving parts and can quickly read and write data. While USBs are designed to be removable, SSDs are typically installed in your desktop, laptop, or tablet. In many cases, these are not user accessible. SSDs are fast, reliable, and easy to use. However, they also come with a number of security risks that you should be aware of before purchasing one for yourself or your business. In this article, we will explain what you need to know about these devices and how you can protect yourself from cyber threats associated with them.
What’s the Difference between an SSD and HDD?
You may have heard of SSDs and Hard Disk Drives (HDDs), but what’s the difference between them? They both store data and can be used for storing files on your computer. Both types of storage devices can also store your operating system and other essential files, so they’re both important to keep secure.
These are the major differences between the two types of drives:
- SSDs tend to have better throughput and lower latency than HDDs. This means they can handle larger amounts of data faster than an HDD drive would be able to do the same task.
- There are no moving parts in an SSD which make them less vulnerable to physical shock or vibration, and they can operate at higher temperatures than hard drives (which makes them more reliable in a variety of environments).
- SSDs are typically more expensive than traditional hard disks.
- SSDs have a limited lifespan; they can only be overwritten so many times before they wear out completely. They don’t last as long as HDDs, so they may need to be replaced at some point.
Common Risks of Using an SSD
The following are the most common risks of using an SSD:
- Wear-leveling: distributes data evenly across all cells within a solid-state drive. This limits the number of times any single block of memory is rewritten and slows down how quickly the drive becomes unusable.
- Due to wear-leveling, conventional disk-wiping software cannot guarantee that it will erase everything that’s ever been written to the disk
- Malware/viruses. As with all drives, there is a risk of infection if you’re not diligent in keeping your device secure and protected.
- More frequent replacement. The shorter lifespan may necessitate the need to replace your drive sooner than with an HDD.
- Access to data. Unless properly secured or decommissioned, any information stored on the drive may be accessible to unintended 3rd .
- Typical disk drive degaussing is not effective on SSDs.
- HDD shredding technology is often ineffective, as well, due to particle size
- An IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) specialist can provide reliable options for guaranteed data destruction.
How to Keep Your SSD Secure
- Encrypt your data. All modern operating systems allow for disk encryption. Where possible, you should encrypt the entire drive. Setting encryption properly is critical to securing the information on that drive.
- Backup your data. Solid state drives are more susceptible to data loss and corruption than traditional hard drives, so you should always back up your data. As with all backups, you should ensure that you can quickly and easily access and restore that data. Your backups should be encrypted, or at least password protected, as well.
- Use a complex password and multi-factor authentication (MFA). These security features that can help prevent unauthorized access to the drive if it’s stolen or lost. It may seem inconvenient, but this extra step will protect your data from being accessed without permission.
- Install anti-virus, anti-malware, or endpoint detection and response (EDR) software on all devices with SSDs installed in them.
- Work with an IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) specialist to ensure that the data you’ve stored is completely inaccessible when you are no longer using the SSD
Solid state drives are a great way to improve the speed and efficiency of your computer, but they also come with some security risks that you need to consider. To keep your data secure, follow the guidelines we have outlined above. Make sure to keep your operating system and all software up to date on your devices. Once you’re no longer using these devices, contact an IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) specialist to ensure that the previously saved data is completely inaccessible to anyone else. Not only is the data you stored on your SSD potentially vulnerable, but any network and user credentials you may have used, as well as information stored by applications, websites, and other cloud services. Proper disposal is critical to destroying all information stored on the SSD and ensuring that no one can inadvertently or intentionally gain access.