This post was contributed by Sarah Davies.
IT Asset Disposition is an integral piece of the ITAM puzzle. How you’re going to deal with your assets at the end of their life is something that should be at the forefront of your mind even when purchasing them.
It’s likely that as an IT Asset Manager, you’ll have a duty to ensure correct and low-risk handling and cleansing of your company data, as well as ensuring compliance with national and international regulations, for both corporate social responsibility and legal purposes.
In this article, we’ll provide an overview of the ITAD process and explain what you should expect from a partner delivering an ITAD solution for your assets.
The right ITAD provider can help you with the management of your assets by providing an inventory of equipment they process on your behalf. Their stock management software can often integrate with your own and give you real-time updates throughout the ITAD processing cycle. Once assets have been processed, you’ll be able to access information about their specification and condition, which will help you determine whether you can redeploy the items within your business or whether it’s better to sell them.
ITAD providers can also help you to manage your equipment warranties.
From the moment your assets are placed into the care of a partner, you’ll want to be sure they, and your data, are safe. Secure transportation is important and may include such things as:
- Unmarked, locked vehicles
- At least two courier crew members (in order that the vehicle is never left unattended and items are safely lifted and handled)
- A full asset list to be signed-off at the point of collection and/or delivery
- An inventory of equipment that arrives at the ITAD provider’s processing facility
Your ITAD provider should be able to provide you with a full list of assets they check in at their facility, within a set SLA.
Processing and Data Wiping
Once items are with your ITAD provider at their facility, they should each be able to be individually identified throughout the entire process, from start to finish. This will usually be via asset labelling and barcode scanning.
Arguably, the most important part of processing is the cleansing of your data. This is of utmost importance to every individual and firm, to protect yourself from hefty fines, prosecution, and loss of reputation within your industry and beyond. ITAD providers can provide different levels of data cleansing, depending on your own in-house and in-country regulations and requirements. This may be a single or triple pass data wipe using software that’s approved by a well-known authority such as CESG or NIST; or it may be degaussing, during which a powerful magnet destroys your data; or it may be straight to the shredder. Some firms even require on-site data cleansing or full destruction of their assets. Sometimes an ITAD provider will use a partner to carry out this type of work. It’s important to ensure those partners are properly vetted and managed by your provider.
Rather than jumping straight to destroying your assets, it’s worth considering how best to lengthen the life of them. ITAD companies can provide a plethora of services including cleaning, upgrades, downgrades, and reimaging, followed by redeployment back to you, or resale to someone else.
Several options are available to ensure the best ROI. Once your assets reach the ‘tipping point’ at which their value will start to decrease at a greater rate, it’s often best to resell them. ITAD providers can usually offer a revenue share program, in which they will sell the assets and share the profits with you, or a buyback program, in which they will simply purchase the assets from you directly and offer you an upfront value.
Recycling and Environmental Compliance
We all know it’s best to reduce waste, then reuse our assets where possible, and finally recycle them as a last resort. Avoiding disposal and landfill is paramount to most individuals and firms, both from a legal point of view and one of integrity. Ensure you look for an ITAD partner who offers as close to zero landfill as possible. Many companies claim to offer zero landfill, but this is usually impossible given there is always a small percentage of an asset that will turn to ash or be impossible to recycle in any form. Be mindful of the fact that there are still some countries who do not legally require items to be kept from landfill.
You should expect complete and thorough reporting of the entire ITAD process for each of your assets individually, so that you can be sure there are no items or data misplaced. Reports will usually include the condition of an item, which your provider may use to justify the sale value you receive.
Regulatory Compliance and Accreditations
Before you choose your ITAD partner, make sure you investigate what processes they follow, how they meet your own required standards and regulations, and what accreditations they hold.
Bear in mind your own specific industry requirements. If you work in financial services or government, for example, you’ll likely have set processes you must follow for ITAD. Your data may need to be cleansed at a higher level than it would be if it had come from a commercial setting.
In most cases, it’s most efficient and reliable for you to use a single provider for all your ITAD requirements. While it may be tempting to use a local firm in each area in which you need ITAD services, and you may even be offered monetary savings, a disjointed global service using several providers can be a real headache.
Don’t just take our word for it – make sure you do your research before partnering with an ITAD company, and ensure they are reputable and will give you an efficient and high-quality service.
About Rich Gibbons
A Northerner renowned for his shirts, Rich is a big Hip-Hop head, and loves travel, football in general (specifically MUFC), baseball, Marvel, and reading as many books as possible. Finding ways to combine all of these with ITAM & software licensing is always fun!
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