Neat idea: if you could delete the security key on a self-encrypting drive (SED) then for all practical purposes the data is lost for ever. That's what Toshiba has done, adding a key wipe facility to its SED products.
The Toshiba SED drives, such as the 2.5-inch, 7200rpm models announced in July, are designed for use by notebook, printer and copier suppliers with the aim of protecting sensitive data, such as security documents. Such information could be recovered from a printer or copier which stores document images on a hard drive. These products are often leased and devices move from customer to customer.
Tosh has added a facility to have the on-disk security key be automatically deleted when the drive's power supply is turned off. That means any sensitive data on the drive is effectively gone for good. It can be used to prevent private and secure data leaving the building or department when a printer or copier does. This is much simpler and easier to accomplish than over-writing a hard drive with zeroes or extracting it from the device and degaussing it.
The company reckons this is a world first, but its uniqueness probably won't last as it's so obvious and easy to implement. ®