IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) – What exactly is it?
We are sometimes asked to explain or to give a bit more detail around what ITAD stands for and ‘what it does’. IT Asset Disposition relates to the proper management of technology throughout its lifecycle. It’s a process that starts with a piece of equipment entering your care and ends when that same device is no longer needed.
When we speak to a new customer who has not historically had an ITAD process in place, there’s a lot to cover. Security, processes, legislation, data management, asset management, disposal and risk are all big factors that as an ITAD Consultant we are constantly thinking about. It keeps us awake sometimes…
Smash, donate or burn?
It’s great to hear of the many creative and sometimes worrying ways in which computers can be gotten rid of once they’re not needed. But neither the philanthropic nor the stress relieving approach is likely to be best for business. There’s still value in that old PC, probably someone’s data as well. That’s where things can get really risky.
How much does it cost?
In the past there have been some hefty fines issued by the ICO to organisations who have failed to protect information, the NHS being one particularly well followed recent instance in 2014. It ended with a £200,000 fine. Possibly one of the most expensive bits of equipment disposal to have taken place in the UK. With some guidelines and documentation in place, the whole problem could have been avoided. Regular ITAD consultation to develop a proper process would’ve cost a tiny fraction of this amount and would have protected the organisation from this severe penalty.
This is a difficult and frustrating position for a client receiving a guarantee that the service is verified and that proper disposal would take place. Responsibility however is upon the owner of the equipment to make sure that the way their equipment is disposed of meets the legal criteria. Shredding a hard drive is the most reliable method of ensuring data cannot be stolen once equipment has been retired.
Is there scope to add value through ITAD?
Almost always. Whilst the offer of free disposals might be appealing, let’s be clear that nothing’s free in business. Somewhere along the line there is a financial exchange which is most commonly the sale of a piece of equipment or components in this scenario. This is definitely no bad thing, but don’t let someone else benefit from the sale of your equipment, take control of it yourself. Instead of giving away your technology for nothing, instead use your IT policy to incorporate processes for data security and disposal. Immediately you have secured more control, more knowledge and more value over your resources.
With a solid set of policies, a good network of suppliers and an understanding of your obligations, ITAD becomes a way to protect and add value to your business and not just a way to get rid of some unwanted old computers.
By Dean Richardson
20 November 2015
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