What are IT Ghost Assets?

Oct 14, 2019

Some people believe that we are surrounded by a spirit world we cannot see.  Whether it gives you comfort that your loved ones may be watching over you and protecting you, or it concerns you that they’re hovering about, you’re at least aware of the concept and you can choose to embrace it or ignore it.

What you cannot ignore is the existence of – and the threat posed by – IT ghost assets.  No, we’re not talking about the vengeful spirit of your old Apple II or Commodore 64, which are busy haunting your your grandparents.

IT Ghost assets are any old computers or IT equipment that you have decommissioned, but have not yet disposed of.  As these outdated electronics linger on empty desks or languish in a storage closet and gather dust, never to be used again, they can become a very real liability to your company and your customers.

Why are IT ghost assets so dangerous and what can you do to mitigate the risks they pose?  Here are a few things every North Dakota business should know about truly frightening IT ghost assets.

The Potential Cost of Abandoned Assets

Ghost assets are not, in and of themselves, particularly dangerous.  They’re not likely to start a fire or put anyone in harm’s way, for example.  What’s dangerous is that they often contain sensitive data that could lead to a data breach or identity theft if they fall into the wrong hands.

Whether they’re out in the open or locked in a closet, there’s a possibility that unscrupulous employees could walk away with them, or that a break-in could result in external theft.  If they’re still hooked up to the network or the internet, the threats are even greater.  You could find yourself in real trouble if thieves are able to extract and illegally use confidential data.

According to the 14th annual Cost of a Data Breach Report, conducted by the Ponemon Institute in collaboration with IBM, the average cost of data breach for 2019 has risen to $3.92 million globally.  Naturally, you’d like to avoid contributing to this number.

Unfortunately, leaving ghost assets lurking about could result in data breach, identity theft, and subsequent costs, including penalties, lawsuits, and loss of customers, revenue, and more.  Don’t forget the cost you pay just for keeping them, whether they’re hooked up and still drawing electricity, or using up square footage that could be put to more productive use.

Partnering with a Certified ITAD Service Provider

If you have yet to create an IT asset life cycle plan that includes IT asset disposition (ITAD), it’s time to set some parameters for proper management that ensure you never have dangerous ghost assets haunting your hallways, so to speak.  The best option is to partner with a certified ITAD service provider that will pick up equipment, shred hard drives on-site or securely transport them to a safe location for shredding, and provide Certificates of Destruction and Recycling for your records.

If your North Dakota business is interested in avoiding the risks associated with IT ghost assets, contact the qualified experts at SEAM today at 605-274-7326 (SEAM) or online to request a quote and learn more.

SEAM provides IT recycling and data destruction services including onsite shredding and hard drive wiping to South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska.

Schedule a pickup or contact us for more information.