Technology moves quickly in today’s enterprises, especially when it comes to end-user devices such as smartphones, tablets and the emerging field of the Internet of Things (IoT). Keeping up with the rapid pace of innovation and providing end users with their preferred devices, operating system and required business applications means refreshing your IT and end-user assets on a regular basis. Given Moore’s Law, new devices need to be provided every 18 months just to avoid obsolescence. This puts a significant strain on your IT team and enterprise mobility management solution.
With all the work that goes into sourcing, procuring, kitting, configuring, activating and deploying new devices, you also need to consider what happens to the old ones that are being replaced. Having end users pass them down to their kids – or simply throwing them away – are not viable disposal methods. These devices contain sensitive corporate and customer information that needs to be securely removed and protected, and hazardous materials that need to be disposed of safely. Plus, they still have some value that can be recouped and reinvested into the new devices.
1) Compliance and Sustainability
E-waste is quickly becoming a major environmental problem around the world. More than 20 million tons of e-waste are produced every year, and 60 percent of this ends up in landfills where materials such as lead, mercury, and cadmium can seep into groundwater and impact the environment. This includes accessories such as wires and cables, batteries, drives and cooling units that are often overlooked. As an enterprise, it’s absolutely critical that your retired assets are disposed of in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way that also complies with local, state and federal regulatory requirements.
2) Reselling vs. Recycling
Properly disposing of your end-user IT assets is not only more environmentally friendly, but also it can also help reduce the total cost of ownership by recouping some of the residual value of the asset. If you’re in an industry where reselling used equipment is an option, you can maximize your returns by keeping the devices in good condition, including all accessories and parts when selling, and planning the removal of old assets around an IT refresh to minimize transportation costs.
In some industries, such as healthcare, finance and government, data security requirements make reselling impossible. In these cases, money can still be recouped by going through a proper recycling process that keeps equipment out of landfills and pays you for the valuable materials within the devices.
3) Maintaining Security
Every device, no matter how it was used, contains sensitive information that needs to be completely and securely removed and protected. Emails, messages, documents, customer information and confidential corporate data – all of it is on end user devices. This represents a major security risk if proper care is not taken during the disposition phase.
A simple “factory reset” is not enough to make the data unusable. Instead, dedicated data sanitation software should be used to wipe devices and make recovering data extremely difficult. This includes wiping less-obvious devices such as printers, copiers, routers and switches since all of them store some amount of data and can often be overlooked during the disposition process.
And beyond just protecting the device itself, enterprises should make sure that the transport of all devices is secure and documented. Due diligence should be conducted on any suppliers or downstream providers to understand how they will handle the equipment. That being said, in cases where data is extremely sensitive or corporate policies require it, complete device destruction is the only sure way to completely eliminate the risk of a security breach.
4) Disaster Recovery and Backup
You still need to access your information, even though it’s on a device that’s being disposed of. Before destroying all of the data on end-user devices, make sure you have a mature and well-designed disaster recovery and backup plan. You must have redundant copies of data that is stored somewhere other than the device itself, and your IT team needs to know where this is and how to access it. Otherwise, you risk losing valuable corporate information that is still relevant to your business.
IT Asset Disposition is a Critical Part of Your Enterprise Mobility Management
With all of the work that comes with deploying new devices to end users, ITAD for old and obsolete equipment remains a critical step that cannot be ignored. Properly disposing of devices can reduce the total cost of ownership and even bring in money that can be reinvested into new equipment. It’s also more sustainable and keeps hazardous materials and e-waste out of landfills, while limiting the risk that sensitive information falls into the wrong hands.
A single-source provider who takes a comprehensive approach to ITAD can help make the entire process run smoothly.
Credits toward new devices will save your enterprise money. Now, how much did you say you were spending on data? Check here to see if you are overpaying for mobile data. Please feel free to post a question or comment below.