What is IT Asset Disposition (ITAD): The Ultimate Guide

What is IT asset disposition (ITAD)? Why is it important to businesses? IT equipment significantly contributes to an overall business value. It benefits a business’s intrinsic value and improves overall operational efficiency to increase revenues.

The constant advances in technology have caused IT equipment to become obsolete, including computers, servers, smartphones, and laptops. As a result, IT managers experience an overload of assets. It means they must dispose of the equipment regularly.

However, individuals and companies can’t throw this equipment in the trash. It is because the government has implemented strict environmental regulations. Another reason is data security concerns.

Data wiping processes and equipment refurbishment are time-consuming tasks. It is not always practical. That’s why proper IT asset lifecycle management plays a crucial role in the company’s bottom line. So, this is where IT asset distribution services come into play.

IT Asset Disposition (ITAD)

IT asset disposition is a business established around disposing of unwanted and obsolete equipment. So, It aims to dispose of tools and equipment in an eco-friendly, safe, and responsible manner.

Research shows that the global ITAD market had a value of $12.11 billion in 2017. Researchers estimated that this figure will reach $25.42 billion by 2025 with a CAGR of 9.7%. Strict regulatory changes worldwide drive the ITAD market.

The regulatory modifications are a response to the changing IT landscape. These also focus on e-waste created by big data, cloud computing, the internet of things (IoT), and cognitive computing.

Getting rid of unwanted and old computer equipment presents challenges to the IT departments of an organization. When organizations realize that they can’t toss the equipment out for data security and environmental reasons, the problem worsens.

That’s why choosing an IT asset disposition service is essential to dispose of the equipment and remove the data from the media. Remember, the company must do this according to the EPA and NIST standards.

ITAD is an essential process of safely, ecologically, and responsibly disposing of unwanted and obsolete electronic devices. For electronic devices that need proper disposition, a company must secure ITAD. At the same time, it must dispose of the equipment according to the rules and regulations of the EPA.

The Importance of IT Asset Distribution for Businesses

Many companies dispose of their equipment. However, they often overlook the aspect of their overall operations. Unless a company leases its equipment, the organization is responsible for disposing of it legally. Remember, this includes complete compliance with environmental safety and data security/privacy laws.

Many businesses have experienced massive fines for not properly disposing of their equipment. A well-managed IT asset disposition program is critical for proper disposal and of equipment and destruction of data. Here are a few factors involved in the process. We will also give you some tips on choosing the right ITAD provider.

E-Waste Recycling

E-waste refers to electronic products discarded after the end of their life. Today’s consumption-driven society experiences rapid expansion of technology. That’s why e-waste has become a significant environmental concern. Most internet of things (IoT) equipment contains toxic material and heavy metals.

Bear in mind that heavy metals can leak into water resources when dumped in landfill sites. Many e-waste recycling companies ship these materials to developing companies. Such companies perform these processes under the guise of humanitarian aid. Therefore, ITAD providers must use certified recyclers.

Data Security

Regardless of the industry in which you conduct business, you have to follow regulations surrounding storage and data disposal. That way, a company can maintain its integrity and safeguards its client’s personal information.

IT asset disposition focuses on data security. When choosing a disposal agent, find out whether they have proper certification. For example, an adequate certificate for destruction usually includes:

  • A sanitization date, methods, and techniques
  • Complete chain of custody report
  • The host machine’s serial number

When information collection and storage increase in value and quantity, data safeguarding becomes even more critical. Data needs to inform all decisions a company makes about electronic equipment disposal.

Companies need to work with IT asset disposition vendors. The purpose is to preserve the trust of people whose privacy they have to protect. Likewise, it is about ensuring compliance with federal and state regulations. Therefore, as a business owner, you must choose an IT asset disposition vendor that takes data security protocols seriously.

Certification

Secure and responsible IT asset disposition focuses on two basic principles. The first one is knowing who will manage old electronic devices, and the second is how to handle them. IT disposition vendors that have got responsible recycling (R2) can conform to best practices of the IT disposal industry.

These practices regulate environmental, workers’ health, and safety management systems. Certified companies like KVS Computers follow the latest standards. The purpose is to handle information destruction and safe management.

Likewise, it is about accurate warehousing and transportation of electronic devices. That’s why it is crucial to choose a certified company to minimize irregularities in worker safety, security procedures, and environmental protection.

Observation

Certifications deliver assurances about the accurate processing of old electronic equipment. It focuses on the protection of employees and mitigation of harm to the environment. In addition, contracting with a third-party service, such as a disposition vendor, does not relieve businesses of their data protection and obligations.

Therefore, it is wise to conduct a site visit for thorough and first-hand observation of physical security measures. Confirm that the company has checked background and performed drug screening of employees. Besides, determine tracking and management of assets and observe equipment teardown procedures.

Use on-site shredding to decrease electronic equipment, including hard drives, to ensure no reconstruction of data or device. Most companies that manage end-of-life electronic devices depend on downstream vendors to process e-waste.

If a business has concerns about data security, it can request the name and location of the vendor’s downstream partner. Likewise, it can determine whether the vendor conducts on-site audits to handle material according to environmental and security standards.

Protection

Locate an IT vendor that provides data destruction methods. At the same time, it must perform data destruction verification to remove all confidential information from the device. Bear in mind that verification is crucial, especially if a company reuses or resells its IT equipment.

Realize the data destruction procedures are optimal when performed by qualified technicians. Therefore, check for documented policies that cover training of employees on the use of data destruction tools and software.

Asset Recovery

The cost of electronic equipment recycling and destruction can take a massive toll on business profit margins. Some equipment is too obsolete for a practical purpose. So, a company must destroy or recycle them. On the other hand, the company can turn less outdated devices into a significant revenue source.

Some cost-saving options include refurbishing for secondary markets, donating to charity organizations, and selling to employees.  A reputable ITAD service with professional staff can offset the high cost of IT asset disposal. Such a company generates revenues from the refurbishment or resale of still-viable electronic devices.

If you have electronic devices that have reached end-of-life, contact a reputable company. The company will liquidate your IT assets, especially the ones that contain sensitive data. That way, you can eliminate the risk.

IT professionals are experts in cutting-edge data security methods, safety protocols, and environmental guidelines. Experts will ensure your e-waste disposal is in full compliance with laws and regulations.

Myths about IT Asset Disposition

Companies pay close attention to buying new electronic devices and managing them. However, old equipment disposal is a problem. For example, commissioning a new laptop means replacing a faulty hard drive or decommissioning a serve.

So, it is time to make a decision: what to do with old electronic equipment. Remember, the original equipment may still have value. More importantly, it may contain sensitive data that requires proper eradication.

So, this is where you need to understand the significance of ITAD. Anyway, here are a few myths associated with IT asset disposition.

Disposing of IT Assets Is Simple

Many businesses still believe that you can sell your electronic device or give it away without regulatory requirements or liabilities. However, this is not the case. Penalties for incorrect data protection include heavy fines and imprisonment.

The authorities charge organizations responsible for the data and not the disposition vendor. Therefore, when handling old electronics, make sure you determine how the company will destroy data. Likewise, get proof of its actual destruction.

Because of environmental and data protection regulations, the burden of disposing of a single computer system can take a long time. That’s why we recommend you to stay wary of organizations that are not certified recyclers.

The chances are that they don’t erase data thoroughly. Similarly, they may sell old electronics as scrap in third-world countries. Therefore, you have to stay careful and understand crucial concepts of IT asset disposition.

Deleting Data is Sufficient

Many individuals and businesses think deleting data is sufficient. It is another myth associated with IT asset disposition. For example, deleting data, resetting a mobile device, or reformatting a disk drive does not remove the data.

Formatting a drive overwrites indexed tables, but it may not delete actual data. Similarly, resetting smartphones reverts devices to factory settings. It means users’ data remain intact on the device.

Using these methods as the sole means for data deletion and sanitization can put your business at risk. You may also experience the consequences of regulatory noncompliance and brand damage due to stolen data.

Media sanitization is an essential process that renders access to data on devices infeasible for a given level of effort. It ensures that complete cleansing of media to remove recoverable data. So, it is wise to destroy the data and verify the destruction.

You can find commercial tools to automate the process. However, licenses and equipment costs usually run to a few thousand dollars. You may also spend money on training employees to use such commercial tools.

Likewise, you have to pay your employees to cleanse each hard drive. A professional ITAD firm uses cutting-edge data erasure technologies and tools. The purpose is to achieve higher efficiency. A professional ITAD company understands the specialized data deletion and destruction procedures.

Asset Disposal is a Commodity

When all IT asset disposition firms offer the same services, it is pretty tempting to go with the most affordable solution. However, appearances are usually deceiving. It means choosing the low-cost service provider can end up costing more. So, it can even cost you your business.

In contrast, legal, effective, and secure ITAD requires knowledge of regulations and standardization of processes. Because the regulatory landscape changes over time, it is wise to choose a provider that understands laws. Similarly, the provider must have a robust method for new regulations integration as they emerge.

IT Asset Disposition – Final Words

Electronic equipment, including IT assets, carry huge areas of security threats for a business. Legal, safe, and effective ITAD are not a comprehensive, one-size-fits-all, and commodity service.

However, when done right, in partnership with a reputable and experienced provider, ITAD returns value to your business. Remember, proper ITAD is a complex process because it has a web of regulations that consistently evolve.

On the other hand, a professional ITAD service provider can safeguard your business from complexities. That way, it will make ITAD easy on your end. When choosing an ITAD vendor, consider service quality, experience, and reputation.

Look for other factors like ease of use, audit controls, security practices, and compliance with regulations and industry standards. The ITAD services must streamline your business and make your life easier.

Likewise, it must provide data, brand protection, environmental safety, and returning value. A professional company can improve data security and optimize asset use for higher revenue generation. ITAD vendors can generate higher returns on investments for your business by minimizing costs. Until Next Time!  

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