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Best Practices for Managing Old IT Assets

18 December, 2017
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Removing old IT devices isn’t as exciting as acquiring, setting up, and training people to use new ones. But it’s no less important. An IT asset disposition strategy is necessary for mitigating risks involving data security and disposal and recovering maximum value from the equipment. Developing and managing that strategy places demand on already limited IT resources.

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According to IBM Global Recovery Services, their remanufacturing and demanufacturing services processed 54.4 million pounds of IT products, parts, and materials in 2016. And managing old assets not only includes computers but anything that has memory and data — mobile phones, fax machines, credit card readers, printers, copiers, tablets, and now, wearables. When your organization is managing old assets, there are two goals:

  • Follow environmental regulations and other laws when destroying old assets
  • Handle and remove data in accordance with the Data Protection Act and other industry-specific laws, like HIPAA

Here are a few best practices to manage your old assets:

  1. Follow trends that affect the IT asset disposition process. When it comes to smaller devices like removable HDDs, SSDs, wearable tech, and mobile devices, they’re not discoverable when they’re not powered on. They need to be tracked manually, which affects the IT asset disposition process. Devices are also becoming smaller, and they can be forgotten or lost in storage, which leads to concerns over data breaches. Another current trend is devices having shorter lifecycles as a result of technology being updated more frequently. In order to keep performance at industry standards, devices need frequent OS updates, which eventually also leads to hardware needing to be updated sooner.

  2. Securely destroy data, as data security is increasingly important. On-site data destruction is a way for IT managers to guarantee all data is destroyed prior to the equipment leaving their site. According to Harpreet Cheema, co-founder and president of Waste to Green, data security is the top reason why companies implement an IT asset disposition strategy. The financial implications associated with data breaches and with the improper disposal of IT assets are too great to ignore. There are also additional concerns relating to the loss of customer loyalty and your organization’s reputation. 

  3. Take care of old assets in the following ways:
  • Asset buyback: This maximizes the return on the original cost of the asset, which decreases the total cost of ownership. Asset buyback also eliminates costs of keeping unused equipment and helps minimize associated risks.
  • Asset disposition: Disposing obsolete or unwanted equipment in a safe and environmentally responsible manner benefits organizations. Organizations can recoup losses in environmental fees and offset costs of buying new assets with recycling or reselling.
  • Data destruction: According to IAITAM, as a result of existing data threats, on-site data destruction is growing in popularity to ensure the destruction of data before the asset is handed off. Some service providers offer a variety of data destruction methods including bulk data wiping, degaussing (device used to destroy data on storage tapes, smartphones, hard drives), or shredding (device is physically destroyed and the data is unrecoverable).

Letting an expert partner handle your IT asset disposition will save time, money, and people-power while giving you the peace of mind that the process was completed thoroughly and in accordance with the law.

Read our other posts in this series on lifecycle management here.

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