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Digital Document Shredder - Delete Your Documents with NSA-Grade Security

written by: MetaOracle•edited by: Christian Cawley•updated: 9/17/2008

SafeIT's Digital Document Shredder is an effective way to ensure your confidential data is deleted, and thus safe from prying eyes.

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    Like many people, I work with a lot of valuable and sensitive data, including passwords, private databases, and so on. I know that when I put a file in the Recycle Bin and click Empty, it can still be accessed; the data is still physically on the hard drive until that space is used by other files. And I know that a data recovery program can undelete the file, making it possible for the next user of the computer to easily access to my files. Digital shredding software destroys any deleted information on a computer's hard disk, making it impossible to undelete.

    SafeIT Security's Digital Document Shredder is easy to use, has a professional look and feel, and most importantly, works. Plus, you get to feel like a secret agent, choosing what type of encryption you want to use to shred your documents. Encryption options include Air Force System Security, National Security Agency, Peter Gutmann's Algorithm, or German Standard VSITR.

    If you are worried about someone stealing your information, co-workers reading your files, or kids stealing your password, it would be prudent to ensure your files are deleted. If you have signed confidentiality agreements, you could even be liable, should your information be stolen.

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    Price to Value

    Rating AverageSafeIT sells three shredding programs, each for $39.95. The standard shredder (reviewed here), a shredder specifically for portable media devices like USB sticks, and the SafeIT email shredder. This seems like a bit of over-specialization; personally, I would prefer one program that did all three for $39.95. A separate program for shredding portable media devices especially feels like too much.

    All three programs are also sold on a subscription basis, with your $39.95 only buying a year's worth of shredding. According to the SafeIT subscription center, "A valid subscription is required to use the application." So it isn't just a matter of losing your updates--once your year is up, you have to purchase the software again if you want to keep using it. If you buy a traditional paper shredder, you hope it will last more than a year; I would hope for the same in a digital one.
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    Installation & Setup

    Rating AverageInstallation is straightforward, and once completed the software is ready to use; there is no need for additional setup.
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    User Interface

    Rating AverageThe interface is clear and simple to use, and its options are easy to find. The product is available in English, German, and Swedish, which could be a problem for those who do not speak these languages.
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    Security & Privacy

    Rating AverageDigital Document Shredder creates effective log files, and gives you the option to shred all of these log files if you don't want people to see what files you've deleted. There is no option to turn off log files, however, which would have improved the shredder's overall security. This is a small detail, but given that this program is made for working with confidential data, it would make sense to include this option.
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    Product Features

    Rating AverageThis features of this program revolve around shredding. You have the option to shred individual files and folders, items in the Recycle Bin, and/or all of your free space on the hard drive, which shreds every file you have deleted. There is also an option to shred system files that are created while programs run. This does not necessarily delete all of your temporary files, however, as those that are in use cannot be deleted.
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    Rating AverageI tested Digital Document Shredder against a couple of file recovery programs, and it passed the test. An unshredded file could be undeleted and opened, while the files I shredded left behind only inaccessible files with illegible names; they could not be accessed.

    One problem I did encounter was that I could not right-click the desktop icon of a file and select Shred in the pop-up menu. The option was there, but when I tried it did not work. This could be due to the settings of the computer at the Internet cafe where I was working, but it is worth noting.

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    A variety of algorithmsSafeIT Digital Document ShredderSafeIT Digital Document Shredder log file
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    Suggested Features

    It would be nice if Digital Document Shredder had the option to turn off logs altogether, although it does let you shred them.

    The feature I would like to see most, however, is a way to shred temporary files that are in use when a program is running; this is a security flaw, as I have had files that stubbornly resist all attempts to be deleted (and anyone who has had to delete one of these knows the amount of work it can take).
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    With its impressively titled shredding algorithms and sleek interface, SafeIT's Digital Document Shredder should give you peace of mind that your confidential files are actually deleted. Its price is on the high side, but Digital Document Shredder does what it is supposed to do and does it well.
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    Related Products

    SafeIT E-mail Shredder for Outlook, SafeIT Digital Media Shredder