To stay competitive, business leaders need to take the plunge and modernize the technology in their workplace. Doing so helps businesses meet the changing way employees communicate, collaborate, and get work done. With all the excitement that comes with selecting, procuring, configuring, and deploying these new digital workplace solutions, there’s one step that may not be top of mind — IT asset disposition (ITAD). Anytime you introduce a new IT asset, whether it’s a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or even a printer, you need to consider how you will dispose of the old one. Having employees throw it in the trash, give it away to family, or leave it in a desk drawer to collect dust is not enough, and could open your organization to security and regulatory concerns.
Intel states that an enterprise device will have a useful life of between two and four years. Also, four-year-old equipment costs end users as much as three lost days of productivity per year. This means that in order to keep up, you’ll constantly be deploying new devices and disposing of old ones. Along those same lines, here are four things to consider when getting rid of your old IT assets.
Design a Repeatable Process
Most of us use multiple devices just to get our work done. Spread across the entire enterprise, that’s a lot of devices that need to be managed and eventually removed and replaced. It is absolutely critical that you have a documented, audited, and repeatable process in place for handling the disposal of obsolete equipment.
Make sure end users understand the importance of turning in their old device when it is no longer needed, and make it easy for them to do so. What this process looks like will vary depending on the ownership model you employ (bring your own vs corporate owned), the types of devices your end users have, and whether you’re looking to remarket the devices, salvage the materials or simply destroy them entirely.
Comply With Industry and Environmental Regulations
Every device in your enterprise, no matter how it is used, will contain sensitive information that needs to be protected. Because of this, some industries, especially healthcare, finance, and government, have very strict rules and regulations that describe how IT assets need to be disposed of. This may make it impossible for you to remarket used devices or recycle the materials in a way that recoups some of your costs.
No matter what industry you’re in you always need to be aware your environmental impact. It has been shown that 60 percent of e-waste ends up in landfills, where toxic materials such as mercury, lead, and cadmium can seep into groundwater. No matter what line of business you’re in, you need to be responsible when disposing of old equipment to ensure you’re not contributing to this global problem.
Keep Sensitive Data Secure
Speaking of security, improperly disposing of old IT assets can be a massive security vulnerability that you may not be aware of. Even equipment such as printers store data that can be recovered by malicious actors. Critically, a simple factory reset does not do enough to completely erase this information.
If you’re remarketing used devices, specialized software is available to sufficiently wipe the data in most cases. If you’re extremely concerned, destroying the devices completely may be the only way to make the data impossible to recover. As part of your process, make sure that any upstream or downstream partners who are involved in the disposition, whether they’re recycling companies, transporters, or otherwise, provide the level of security you need so that there’s no potential for leaks anywhere along the line.
Work With an ITAD Provider
By now you may be thinking that large scale IT asset disposition is no easy task, especially when there are other areas your IT department needs to focus on. While it is possible to manage this yourself, it may be better to turn to an ITAD provider who can handle the entire process for you. They can recoup value wherever possible and then safely, securely, and sustainably dispose of your technology so that you can turn your attention to more strategic initiatives. If you’re looking to work with a provider, make sure to ask who they’ll be working with downstream, and don’t hesitate to question them on how they will keep your devices and data secure every step of the way.
Out With the Old – In With the New
It’s always a lot of work to introduce new technology in the workplace and fully achieve the benefits for end users. But as you’re bringing in the new, don’t forget to properly dispose of the old. With the right ITAD plan in place, you’ll comply with industry and environmental regulations, protect sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands, and make it easy for end users to fully adopt the new technology you’re deploying. ITAD may not be as exciting as the other lifecycle stages, but it’s a step that you need to do right in order to implement a successful digital workplace.