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Master Responsible and Secure IT Asset Disposition

Recycle e-waste

Here’s a question: How do you know if your IT asset disposition (ITAD) efforts are well managed, efficient, and can handle projects both large and small?

If your answer is something along the lines of “I’m not sure, but I think we can handle anything”, then the optimism is appreciated, but you can do better.

Commitment is the Key

The first step in your journey is to have a strong commitment to environmentally friendly disposition of your used IT equipment. This is more than just good for the earth. It’s also good for your company. Running afoul of regulatory and legal requirements can lead to fines and negative PR.

This commitment needs to come from the guy or gal at the very top. Their support for an environmentally friendly ITAD program shouldn’t be questioned. By championing the initiative, the leader can rally the troops and ensure that everyone shares in the goal.

Teamwork

What happens when the leaders of a company don’t vocalize their support? Other members of the organization question if the initiative is truly important, or if it was only put in place for publicity. The desire to meet the stated goals aren’t as strong and, ultimately, it becomes extremely difficult, if not impossible, to be successful.

Understand the rules and regulations in your jurisdiction for IT asset disposition, recovery, and recycling. Commit to adhering to these rules and industry best practices. Then practice what you preach every day. Once you are committed, it’s time to play to your strengths.

Play to Your Strengths

A field goal kicker focuses on perfecting his kicking, not mastering passing or blocking. Similarly, your company should play to its strengths. Once you’ve acknowledged that proper ITAD processes are necessary it is time to determine if that is a job best done internally or outsourced.

There is no shame in admitting that your team may not be large enough or specialized enough to handle your ITAD needs. Thankfully, numerous professional service providers exist who only focus on responsible asset recycling and recovery. When selecting a vendor it’s best to shop around and do your homework. Each provider is different and you want to be sure you are working with the best.

Selecting a Vendor

A few questions to ask yourself about each provider you consider are:

  • Would you trust this provider with your company’s most confidential data?
  • If yes to the above, are you confident in their ability to destroy the data on devices before remarketing them?
  • Does this vendor have a history of adhering to regulatory requirements for recycling IT assets?
  • Do they share my commitment to an environmentally friendly process 100%?

These questions are critical to selecting a good partner. This is not a process that should be rushed, so take your time and get comfortable with the different providers you interview.

What happens if you don’t take this seriously and select a poor vendor? Your bottom line can and will suffer. The following are just a few ways your company can be impacted by working with a less than competent asset remarketing firm:

  • Legal troubles for skipping one or more laws governing asset recycling and disposition activities.
  • Lawsuits, lawsuits, and more lawsuits. These may come from aggrieved parties and may be larger in number than you might think.
  • Damage to your brand due to the points mentioned above.

It can be tough to recover from being labelled an environmental hazard on the front page of the newspaper. Your company and brand have been built through years of hard effort and a lapse in judgement on your recycling and remarketing partner shouldn’t be the reason that hard work is destroyed.

Keeping ITAD An Inside Job

If you’ve decided that your team has the chops to handle your ITAD needs be sure you have controls and process in place to ensure your standards are met.

Many company have a processes and procedures document to outline how specific tasks should be executed. Your ITAD team should have a similar process guide. If you feel your team is competent, but may need assistance developing procedures, then engage with an outside consultant to help ensure your team is well trained.

Bringing It All Together

Mastering a responsible and secure IT asset disposition plan isn’t rocket science. For those companies willing to put in the time and effort it is a rewarding process. You will likely have many vendors willing to work with you on your responsible asset recycling and disposition initiative. Take things slow and issue an RFP with specific questions that are important to you. Once you weed out the less desirable respondents, conduct in-person interviews with the remaining candidates. This process might take some time, but anything worth doing is worth doing right.

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