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Before the 1980s, very little data was stored on computers. Most data remained on tape or magnetic disk. The data center kept those devices secure and shredded them at the end of their lives. The process kept sensitive information safe.
Today, it’s not that simple. Proprietary and confidential data exists across many smaller devices. A company providing employees with various tools (computers, servers, laptops, tablets and smart phones) requires new measures to keep data safe when they reach end-of-life. Otherwise, when sensitive information lands in the wrong hands it’s like opening Pandora’s box. It can result in severely detrimental and far-reaching consequences such as loss of competitive edge, clients and customer trust plus steep fines or other legal ramifications.
Just like the outer four walls of your home that give you peace of mind by keeping your family safe and secure, when it comes to disposing of your technology assets, there are four pillars that provide companies with the same thing. It’s a structure that keeps reputations and sensitive information safe and secure, all while providing its leaders peace of mind.
The four pillars are asset buyback, reverse logistics, data destruction and asset disposal. Let me explain why these are key for choosing your vendor.
1. Gain residual on the resale value of your asset.
Let’s say you have a couple of smartphones in your company. Depending on the model, one can have a resale value anywhere from 50 to 500 dollars in certain markets. When there are more than just a couple assets, the dollars add up fast.
In addition, there’s a replacement cost for your phones. Replacing employee’s equipment requires new capital expenditure so it makes sense to pocket some of the resale value.
2. Consider reverse logistics for auditing purposes.
It’s not enough for someone to pick up your old technology and take it away. If your asset is hacked before the data gets wiped, your sensitive information can become the latest feeding frenzy for data predators. It must remain secure until the data is destroyed.
Transporting assets may also include crossing borders, and requirements for disposing of equipment can vary. Not maintaining proper compliance could lead to irreparable harm for your business and costly fines. Review the latest requirements prior to taking equipment across borders because regulations constantly change. Look out for keywords like e-waste and consider on-site data destruction.
3. Check for a thorough process to destroy your data.
You often see in the news, reports of recycled computers being found containing residual data or even patient data being discovered on some discarded hospital devices. Uncovering data on recycled equipment can hurt your company and its brand, and could also lead to steep fines or legal consequences for your company and anyone involved.
It’s critical that data be destroyed completely before reusing or recycling the asset or disposing of it. These days, every firm knows the importance of securing their data from web attacks, building firewalls and hiring experts to protect themselves and their clients, but only a few put in the same effort when equipment and its related data becomes idle.
4. Look for a solid asset disposal process that ensures compliance.
Be careful of firms who offer disposal of your equipment for free. Typically, this implies that you don’t get to know what happens to the equipment or recover any of its value. Be aware of your company’s auditing requirements in advance. Require proof that an asset’s data is properly destroyed, and get any information or certificates back after you pass the equipment on to an IT disposition firm.
Find out more: IT Asset Recovery Solutions solution brief Global Asset Recovery Solutions website
Director of Worldwide Sales GARS and GARS Latin America IBM Global Financing