Asset recovery – the proper disposal or recycling of hardware devices – is a modern IT requirement for organizations of all sizes. Too often, old equipment that has gone past its end-of-life or is replaced with a new model ends up being thrown away, winding up in a landfill. How many devices get lost in a cluttered drawer and closet, and then simply thrown out?
The issue scales up, too, as large companies retire and replace thousands of assets every year as they follow a capital equipment purchasing schedule. As the number of devices eliminated from an IT environment grows, so do the risks. After all, equipment that isn’t properly disposed of can fall into the wrong hands, leading to unintended data breaches and loss of company secrets or IP. That’s why hard drives must be wiped clean and shredded before equipment is recycled or repurposed.
But is your asset recovery program comprehensive and responsible?
There are five crucial aspects of every successful asset recovery program. Let’s review them.
1. It protects the organization. For years, the decision to put an asset recovery program in place was driven by a cost/benefit analysis, and many organizations viewed the process as just too expensive. Today, the threat of lawsuits because of data breaches, as well as the reputation hit, is driving asset recovery implementation.
A developed asset recovery program takes the liability from the organization, putting the onus on the companies contracted to complete the disposal or reclamation of devices. At the onset of the asset recovery process, organizations receive certification that their devices are being properly destroyed and disposed of, or redeployed, clearing them of liability for data breaches and their consequences on those devices. This certification verifies the legal and eco-friendly destruction of devices.
2. It’s versatile. Not every device is destroyed, actually. In some cases, organizations will redeploy devices, complete with new hard drives and other parts, within their own environment. In others, devices in good condition are relisted in the marketplace and are sold off; sometimes, the original owner receives a portion of the revenue generated through the sale of the device.
Asset recovery companies can act as a middle man in lease-return arrangements, too. These companies can step in and handle the logistics of returning devices back to the lender. And, of course, devices can be donated to other organizations or recycled.
3. The first E: it’s economical. Lawsuits aside, a developed recovery plan can reduce costs for organizations and in many cases return money via trade-in or remarket programs. One goal of asset recovery is offsetting as many of the costs of removing equipment from the organization’s environment by offering money back during the refresh. Perhaps the largest cost savings come from regained work hours for your procurement and IT professionals; time that would have been spent on planning, deploying, and certifying every step of the process can be dedicated to other projects.
The cost savings on transportation and recycling fees, for example, are often underestimated. Plus, redeploying devices within your environment extends their lifespan, and organizations get a cut of the profits if devices are resold.
4. The second E: it’s environmentally friendly. Throw out a laptop, and no doubt it’ll end up in a landfill. Or worse yet, it’ll travel overseas to be destroyed in a way that pollutes the land. There’s a better way.
Credible asset recovery providers are EPA-certified and do not send any part of a recycled device to a landfill. In many cases, plastics and precious metals can be recycled after devices are destroyed.
5. It’s transparent. Most organizations have an asset recovery program in place, but are blind to the “behind the scenes” process once hardware leaves their environment. Many have no method of tracking where hardware is, and whether it’s properly disposed of.
A well-developed program is a transparent one, in which organizations see every step of the process and review data about their hardware (e.g., pounds of recyclable material). By demanding full reporting capabilities from their vendors, organizations ensure assets are properly and safely disposed of.
No longer wanted, but not waste
Waste implies uselessness, so e-waste probably isn’t the right description for an old laptop. Sure, it’s past its useful life, but that clunker might still hold sensitive data about your company and your customers. That data is certainly useful to your organization, and unfortunately can be valuable information in the wrong hands.
Organizations should implement a comprehensive asset recovery program that properly and securely disposes of old hardware devices. Whether it’s recycling those devices or reselling them, a fully developed program will securely remove devices from your network without cost overruns and liability concerns. And organizations can monitor their shipments, ensuring old power equipment, computers, and servers don’t wind up in landfills.
Contact your SHI representative to start the conversation about our Asset Recovery Program.