As a society, we are almost constantly connected; our personal and business lives are dominated by our devices. This highly connected culture means that our data has never been more valuable when it comes to facilitating our business operations.
IT spending continues to soar, globally. Enterprises invest in new technology to increase productivity and facilitate hybrid working or when transitioning to the cloud. Many experience the lower operational costs of regularly refreshing their inventory, rather than using outdated equipment. Whilst it might improve efficiency for the business, this along with the rapid rise of the Internet of Things produces an even larger pile of ‘redundant’ devices – all containing valuable data.
The mere prospect of a significant data breach is enough to keep most CISOs awake at night. Following the UK’s departure from the EU, the maximum fine the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) can issue under EU and UK GDPR legislation has increased to £17.5 million.
Yet, despite knowing this, almost half of UK businesses do not erase data correctly.
The days of sending redundant IT assets to scrap or a data shredder are behind us; it’s simply no longer an adequate or secure solution. As our technology becomes faster, more responsive and more sophisticated – so too are the cyber criminals. It’s time to think again about how we dispose of our tech.
What is ITAD?
IT Asset Destruction or disposition is the secure disposal of IT hardware, ensuring that all sensitive data is thoroughly sanitised through professional data erasure techniques. But ITAD is far more than just discarding end of life IT assets, the principles of data governance relate to precisely how this hardware is retired.
Governed by numerous data protection and e-waste compliance regulations, including the EU’s Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment directive, disposal of outdated equipment must be undertaken responsibly and follow environmentally friendly ITAD best practice.
Why is it important?
To prevent costly data breaches.
Data breaches are financially costly – but they also have the power to shatter consumer trust in your brand overnight; this reputational damage may be something the organisation never recovers from.
When you think of data security, you might perhaps think of a server in a large corporation. After all, these are the organisations, which will be targeted by cyber-criminals, right? Increasingly, smaller businesses are targeted as they’re less likely to have a dedicated CISO or CIO and may invest less in cybersecurity, staff training or ITAD.
Whilst networks can be a focus for cyber-attacks, in reality, breaches that occur after asset disposal can just as easily be from smaller portable smart devices. A trend emerging from the pandemic was the increased use of BYOD devices. However, during the rapid redeployment of staff, many failed to create a bring your own device usage policy – this means that your corporate data may still reside on thousands of personal devices, both of existing and former employees.
To promote sustainable practices.
Our devices and data storage impacts our environment but an ITAD partner can help you develop a long-term sustainability strategy that is not just good news for the planet, but also good for your bottom line.
The ‘take, make, dispose’ culture created by availability and affordability, has led to a global e-waste crisis of huge proportions. Shockingly, the vast majority of our discarded tech still ends up in landfill.
Global e-waste volumes grew by 21% between 2014 – 2019 – if this pace continues, e-waste will double in 16 years.
The United Nations.
Environmental harm is caused by the leaching of chemicals into our soils and waterways, but this isn’t the only issue. Our devices contain precious metals including gold, silver, palladium, and copper, to name a few… when these components are landfilled, they are unnecessarily wasted and unsustainably, more of these finite resources need to be mined to produce the latest device, placing a huge strain on the world’s resources.
To help you remain compliant.
Data privacy regulations such as GDPR data destruction requirements first introduced in 2018 have changed the way businesses dispose of outdated or redundant IT equipment. But these tend to be complex and can be hard to keep track of.
IT asset disposition companies know both data protection and e-waste directives like the back of their hands because they are governed by them too. Therefore, you can trust that they know how to safeguard your corporate data and can help keep you fully compliant too.
Although the term ITAD is widely recognised across the industry, IT asset disposal services have evolved with technological developments to ensure they meet the demands of the dynamic sector. Today, the industry has many different facets, offering much more than compliant disposal; we highlight a handful below:
IT asset recovery.
When it comes to environmentally friendly ITAD, reuse should be the first option explored. Your ITAD provider will assess whether equipment considered obsolete can be cleansed, deployed or resold, many can help with regular IT audits to help keep track of your inventory. Most machines can be given a new lease of life with a simple upgrade or a few replaced components.
IT asset recovery maximises lifetime value from hardware, which is often considered worthless by the owner, whilst data erasure techniques ensure that no data remains. It has been a growing industry division providing new revenue and delivering significant cost savings as businesses continue to tighten their belts.
Recycling for remanufacturing.
Whilst refresh cycles seem to be extending through sustainable repair, reuse and upgrades that extend device life, it is inevitable that our technology will break or become obsolete. But even when products really do become useable, ITAD technicians can carefully dismantle them, retrieving components, including those precious metals. Entering the circular economy, the components can be remanufactured into the next generation of devices.
This discarded hardware responsibly is a great addition to your corporate sustainability policy and the residual value for the assets is returned to your business. As they are experts in the marketplace, your ITAD supplier will ensure you will receive the best market rate for your decommissioned components, providing a significant return.
Mobile device recycling.
One of the biggest challenges in data governance today and one of the biggest ITAD myths for businesses today is the belief that a factory reset will completely delete all data from company mobile phones or tablets – it doesn’t.
If you don’t have a policy for identifying erasing company data residing on either corporate or personal mobile phones, you aren’t alone. Smartphones are often overlooked. Many IT asset disposition services offer a complete mobile device erasure and recycling services using specialist mobile data wiping software. Some provide on-site data erasure to minimise disruption.
Secure office relocation.
The pandemic has seen businesses down-size their office space having moved to remote or hybrid working. However, moving the corporate server along with thousands of data-rich IT assets is not an easy process.
Custom flight cases, carefully packed for in-transit by highly qualified, fully insured ITAD technicians can help make moving far less stressful. Look for an ITAD supplier who offers this IT relocation service and ideally has their own GPS-tracked logistics fleet for maximum security.
Our digital workloads are driven by data. As our digital transformation continues, companies must perform higher levels of due diligence to prevent data security issues. The role of professional ITAD services will continue to grow the meet demand. In this device and data-driven world, the growth of the IT Asset Destruction industry and the importance of data governance run parallel. According to recent research by Acumen, the global ITAD market is projected to increase its value and be worth over US$ 22 million by 2026.
Data is intrinsic to today’s businesses and is therefore highly valuable; to both your organisation and the criminals. Therefore, there’s an urgent need for companies to have a robust IT asset disposal policy. This should go beyond data erasure and data centre decommissioning, it should also cover the entire lifecycle strategy with includes asset recovery, repair, reuse and recycling. By delivering this alongside reliable IT asset destruction services, you will also enjoy the peace of mind that comes with an ITAD chain of custody to ensure your legislative compliance, too.
When it comes to data destruction services, it is vital to work alongside a trusted ITAD partner, who takes your data security as seriously as you do. tier1 provide comprehensive, responsive data wiping services, which evolve with the needs of our customers to fully support your organisation and protect company data.
Find out more – contact us on 0161 777 1000 or visit tier1.com
Super Micro, Horizon Technology, Core PHP, Centrics IT, Techonguide, Tech Insider, Acumen Research, APTO Solutions,