All companies go through technology refresh cycles at some point, replacing the old IT assets with newer, faster, more efficient ones. Out with the old and in with the new right? Well it's not that simple. The "out" part is where it gets more complicated. Many companies do not have the equipment or staff to properly manage the disposition of IT assets without the help of a third party. For those who try to do it on their own, here's a few reasons it may be a bad idea:
When electronic equipment is no longer needed, the data that remains must be properly destroyed. The types of data that need protecting might include credit card numbers, phone numbers, social security numbers, medical records and proprietary information to name a few. When this data is not destroyed properly, it leaves businesses open to catastrophic risks that may lead to fines, lawsuits, and a major hit to brand reputation.
There are a few different methods companies can use when destroying data, but if the method chosen is not done correctly, it can lead to a breach. For example, if a hard drive is wiped using software that cannot access all of the information, traces of encrypted data will remain, leaving it vulnerable to a breach. Another example is physically damaging the device. Simply hammering or drilling a hard drive or solid state drive is not effective. Unless a drive is shredded down to fragments too small to recover data from, forensics software can retrieve information.
When businesses use specialized, third party partners to destroy their data, they don't have to worry about the "what ifs". Using a vendor like SEAM means all data is destroyed in compliance with the current industry recognized destruction standard, the NIST 800-88r1 Guidelines for Media Sanitization. Drives can also be shredded onsite at the business property, or at the offsite secure facility, using an industrial shredder capable of destroying both hard drives and solid state drives. Certificates of Destruction are provided, backed by third party certifications that verify all processes and procedures are audited to meet data security standards.
Each piece of equipment containing data should be tracked from the point of purchase through its final disposition to ensure the generator (i.e. the business who purchased it) is responsibly protecting the data as well as disposing of the device in a responsible manner. If one IT asset is lost along the way, companies immediately lose chain of custody and the result could end in a public security breach or TV special about improper environmental disposal. When computers, printers or other data storage devices are no longer needed at the company, it can be difficult for in-house IT teams to keep track of them without a formal security policy and tracking system in place.
Using a certified recycling company like SEAM solves the tracking issue. At SEAM, customers can have serial numbers recorded and made available in the client portal for instant access. This comes in handy if a company is being audited for one of the many different requirements surrounding regulated industries such as HIPAA, FACTA or PCI DSS. If you can quickly pull up a report of all data-containing drives or devices that have been destroyed, your auditor will be impressed and you can breathe a sigh of relief.
Time & Labor
Its no secret that jobs in Sioux Falls and the surrounding communities are highly competitive right now. Companies should not be wasting their valuable employees' time by having them perform time-consuming data wiping for each hard drive they dispose of, or labor intensive (and often noneffective) drilling, crushing or hammering. Not to mention the training that goes into these procedures to make sure they are done correctly. Employees today across all industries typically have a lot on their plates, especially when it comes to IT Teams. As a result, data destruction may not be at the top of their priority list, meaning steps may be missed or assets could be lost while waiting to be destroyed. If disposition is not done quickly enough, businesses also lose out on resale potential, as technology value quickly decreases the longer you sit on it before reselling.
Instead of risking the job not being done properly or in a timely matter, companies can rely on vendors like SEAM who specialize in performing data destruction and wiping hard drives - making employees happier with more time, and protecting companies by ensuring its done correctly and in compliance.
Hazardous waste is often found in electronics and this means they must be disposed of properly. Substances like arsenic, lead and mercury are just a few of the hazards inside. This is why most landfills, like the Sioux Falls regional landfill, ban the dumping of ewaste and make it illegal for any business to do so. Along with the exposure and legal risks, there's also the reputational risk. No company wants to be the next news story with a giant picture of their asset tag on a computer floating in a lake.
If a third party recycler is used for IT Asset disposition, make sure they are certified to R2 and eStewards certifications. Often times companies will bid on equipment, pay you for it, sell the good stuff, and dump the rest. This leaves you as the generator on the hook if any of that "junk" turns up where it shouldn't be. Certifications are a way to validate a company is doing it correctly. These certifications take a lot of investment however, and reputable companies charge a fee for recycling and data destruction services so that they can properly handle the waste. If cost is your main driver in choosing an electronics recycling company, look for a partner like SEAM, who offers remarketing services that lets companies get value back from the equipment they are able to resell.
Now that you know why you should use a specialized company when recycling or reselling IT equipment, we hope you keep SEAM in mind. As the only R2 certified and estewards certified electronics recycling and reseller company in the upper Midwest, we make it our business to make sure your IT asset management is seamless, from beginning to end.