Every IT manager worth their salt will know that disposing of used IT equipment is difficult. Shedding unneeded IT equipment is not as simple as driving to the local recycling center. IT assets demand responsible disposal. Plus, you cannot just leave used assets in an ecologically safe place. Disposal is a step-by-step process that includes the irreversible destruction of data.
This process is so important and so commonly used that it’s spawned an acronym. This acronym is ITAD or IT asset disposition. There is an entire IT asset disposition market.
Read our guide to ITAD to see how you can dispose of unused IT assets in a responsible manner. ITAD does not compromise information security and nets the maximum return on used equipment.
Why ITAD is essential
If your company is going to follow a rigorous asset disposal process it needs to know why it is doing so. This justifies the costs in terms of time and cash. ITAD is easy to justify, however. It is particularly crucial where companies are disposing of large amounts of equipment. Let’s take a look at the factors behind ITAD.
Costs, and returns
ITAD can essentially be mainly about money matters. First, how does your company cost-effectively dispose of a large amount of IT equipment and storage media? Next, which assets have a resale value? Your business may have outgrown equipment, but not everyone needs state of the art equipment.
Following a planned, thorough process can reduce the cost impact of the disposal process. Yes, there will be costs around the disposal of unusable equipment. The destruction services for drive data is also costly. But these costs can be mitigated. Useable assets can have a substantial value, especially where quantities are large. A straight-forward agreement with a disposal partner may just lead to a solid fill-up to your IT budget.
Data security and regulation
It’s stating the obvious that you cannot release equipment that contains company or customer data on to the market. Electronic data destruction is an essential element of ITAD. Some companies need to take it a few steps further.
Regulations such as HIPAA and those around the privacy of financial data have specific requirements. These include that data is securely destroyed and that the physical destruction is certified. It involves military-grade erasure methods and verifiable certification, and this is where ITAD technologies shine. Following proven ITAD methodologies can ensure that your enterprise meets its regulatory requirements.
Clearly, you cannot simply leave computer equipment at disposal facilities intended for general commercial and domestic waste. Computer equipment contains harmful chemical compounds. These compounds affect the environment and there are regulatory aspects that limited your options.
In fact, there are laws restricting the ways in which you can dispose of servers, printers and other equipment. Your CSR obligations may also require safe disposal certification.
How the ITAD process works
We’ve outlined why IT asset disposition carries the importance that it does. But why do ITAD programs work? And what is the ITAD process? The ITAD process can be summarized in five steps:
- Cataloging and re-installing
First, you need to carefully catalogue exactly what is marked for disposal. This helps you meet certification requirements later in the process. For example, ensuring no item is left outside a certified data destruction program. At this point, you can also conclude what equipment needs to be disposed of. You may also find some equipment has a resale value.
Next, equipment needs to go through the process of safe de-installation. Double-check that switching off and removing components will not impact your continued IT operations. Also, note that handling equipment carefully can help maintain resale value. All permissions and credentials used on the equipment should be cancelled.
- Data sanitization
Whether equipment is marked for disposal or for resale, any data contained on it must be destroyed securely. Computer data destruction can be very involved. Some companies even physically destroy devices with what amounts to power tools used by shredding services. It’s worth noting that even peripherals such as printers should be included. Data sanitization removes data such as logs and credentials on peripherals.
Your approach to secure data destruction procedures will depend on the regulatory requirements you face. But the systematic destruction of data on the equipment you are disposing of is an essential ITAD step. You may perform military-grade destruction with certified data destruction software or simply securely wipe drives. Either way, ticking the data sanitization box for every piece of equipment cataloged in the previous step is essential.
- Refurbishing and remarketing
Remarketing your equipment may well return a worthwhile portion of the original purchase price. It all depends on the equipment itself. How frequently your company performs upgrades also has an effect. Nonetheless, for large operations, the resale value of used equipment can be substantial.
Refurbishing to prepare for resale could be done in-house. However, you may be better off involving expertise that can help you make the most of the equipment you are retiring. Presentation aside a specialist in the IT asset disposition industry can repackage equipment. Resale value is boosted by for example including long-lost accessories.
Some equipment won’t have any resale value. Your ITAD process should include steps to dispose safely of equipment that has no practical use. There are legal restrictions around the disposal of E-waste. Your company will likely strive to meet social responsibility requirements too.
It can help to involve a partner in the disposal process as this can lead to disposal certification. Certification ensures that you have proof that your ITAD process followed good practice and met environmental regulations.
- Certification and reporting
Once the ITAD process is complete your organization needs to be confident that all the regulatory boxes are ticked and that internal requirements were met. A reliable internal ITAD process meeting secure data destruction standards will help. Alternatively, consider a qualified ITAD services provider to ensure adequate certification.
Depending on where your company stands with respect to data protection regulation this may or may not be a crucial point. But even if you are not required to meet data destruction standards peace of mind is important. This can be achieved by properly taking care of IT asset disposal.
Where Enterasource can step in
IT asset disposition is a process most organizations encounter infrequently. This infrequency removes the opportunity for building organizational knowledge. That is why it is beneficial to get in touch with a partner that can assist with the process.
At Enterasource, our ITAD experts can guide you through the ITAD process. We can advise every step of the way to ensure that your company correctly takes care of IT asset disposal. Our ITAD process can match your business requirements and any regulatory obligations.
Unlike other ITAD consultants, we have a high level of expertise in packing, shipping and reselling IT equipment on a large scale. This can be of particular use to companies who are disposing of large volumes of servers and IT peripherals. The logistics surrounding disposal can be daunting.
Nonetheless, it does not matter whether you are looking to dispose of a couple of core pieces of equipment or the equivalent of an IT fleet. Get in touch with Enterasource as we would be able to advise on the full disposal process. We could also purchase equipment that has a resale value.