Profile. As the world continues to grapple with the realities of increasing data volumes and e-waste, companies like Blancco have found their niche by providing data erasure solutions. These have become critical as more devices that hold valuable data are sent for recycling rather than ending up as e-waste.
In contrast to anti-ransomware technologies that focus on maintaining immutable copies of data, Blancco’s objective is to ensure the secure deletion of data.
The company was established in 1997 in Joensuu, Finland, originally as Carelian Innovation. Early products included the Protekto anti-theft device for PCs and the Blancco Data Cleaner, a solution designed to overwrite data on disk drives. Blancco’s inception was largely driven by a data security breach in Finland in 1997, where health records of more than 3,000 patients were discovered on computers sold by a Finnish hospital. The product was officially launched in 1999.
Carelian decided to rebrand to Blancco in 2000, and subsequently focused its efforts on developing the software. This move led to the introduction of Blancco LAN Server in 2001, broadening horizons to a wide array of clientele including recycling and refurbishing centers, auction houses, leasing companies, and large corporations. By 2005, Blancco had amassed a user base surpassing 3 million.
Blancco’s software works by overwriting all sectors of a drive with random patterns of zeroes and ones, preventing any potential data leaks before devices are traded, sold, recycled, or reused. The software also allows for targeted sanitization, overwriting data in a specified file, folder, or location, while leaving non-targeted areas intact.
The company continued to evolve, aligning its tech to meet various international data erasure standards. In 2007, Blancco was added to the NATO Information Assurance Product Catalogue. This was followed by Sun Microsystems licensing Blancco’s software in 2008 to facilitate data removal for their workstations and servers. Blancco’s compliance with international regulatory standards for data erasure was a significant factor in securing the deal. To date, these standards include over 25 industry norms such as the US DoD 5220.22-M, NIST Clear and Purge, among others.
The company further expanded its portfolio by extending data erasure to other suppliers’ servers. A Data Center Edition was released in 2008 for mass storage systems from companies including EMC, HP, and Sun. Blancco also provides tamper-proof, audit-ready Certificates of Erasure that confirm the erasure process, aiding regulatory compliance and ensuring data protection. In 2012, Blancco added mobile data erasure to its repertoire with the introduction of Blancco Mobile.
The business now owns a diverse range of software that caters to mobile phones, PCs, servers, and datacenters. The software is capable of wiping data on SATA, SAS, and NVMe drives, both HDD and SSD, and can manage RAID groups and virtual machines. Some of their key offerings in the Data Center Edition include:
- Blancco Drive Eraser
- Blancco Removable Media Eraser
- Blancco LUN Eraser
- Blancco Virtual Machine Eraser
- Blancco Hardware Solutions
- Blancco Management Console
Globally, over 250 refurbishment centers use its technology. The company has also collaborated with eBay Korea for smartphone data removal and Samsung for SSD data deletion. Blancco maintains offices in the UK, France, Germany, North America, and the Asia Pacific region.
In April 2014, the company was acquired by UK-based firm Regenersis. The latter’s software division, which offers device diagnostics, repair, and data erasure services, was subsequently renamed to Blancco Technology Group in 2015, with Blancco becoming a subsidiary.
Today, the Blancco Technology Group is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is currently poised to be acquired by private equity biz Francisco Partners for £175 million ($221.3 million). Francisco Partners is particularly interested in Blancco due to its sustainability and e-waste reduction initiatives, aspects that are gaining prominence in the era of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) considerations.
Francisco Partners is also buying observability platform New Relic for $6.5 billion.