Keeping IT assets up to date and in good condition is an essential part of ensuring that they remain competitive, function effectively, and are prepared to take full advantage of any emerging software or other technology which has the potential to enhance the way in which they operate.
However, all IT equipment eventually reaches a stage at which it is no longer fit for purpose, while a reduction in IT requirements could mean some equipment is simply no longer needed. Asset management is, therefore, an ongoing process for most businesses, in which old assets are recycled or repurposed, and new equipment bought in to update the asset base.
It is essential that businesses dispose of any surplus, defunct, or obsolete IT assets correctly in order to manage operational risk.
With this in mind, here are the three major risk factors business owners and managers must consider when formulating an effective approach to IT asset disposal.
1) Data Security
Any IT asset which has been in use for a substantial period of time will contain data which might not be readily accessible to the general user. For example, files which have been ‘deleted’ via a front-end operating system such as Microsoft Windows or macOS and are no longer visible in file management programs remain stored on a computer's hard drive for as long as disk space requirements will allow.
Consequently, disposing of IT equipment without first ensuring that any hard drives are comprehensively wiped means that the information stored on them can fall into the wrong hands.
2) Environmental Concerns
In common with most electronic equipment, IT assets contain many materials which are hazardous to the environment if not disposed of correctly. This can include plastic casings, batteries, and the many chemicals, metals, and other substances which enable computer technology to function.
More broadly, the environmental damage caused through sourcing and processing these materials means that recycling is paramount. At Absolute IT Asset Disposals Ltd, we take this responsibility seriously, maintaining a policy of meeting or exceeding the relevant WEEE directives wherever possible and preventing any of the IT assets we process from ending up in landfill.
3) 'Free' Recycling
Finally, when taking decisions about how to approach IT asset management, business owners and managers are advised to approach so-called 'free recycling' services with caution.
While understandably tempting, these 'free' alternatives come with hidden risks which can ultimately far outstrip any short-term savings. This is due to the common practice of some businesses of reselling old IT assets without comprehensive data sanitisation to preserve data security.
Some end-of-life IT assets may also be handed over to third party ‘waste management’ companies who export electronic waste abroad. The problem for the original owners is that the audit trail usually ends once the old assets leave the UK. Some are recycled responsibly in the EU or Turkey, but in other cases, old assets may be consigned to landfill sites or even illegal dumps in countries as far afield as India or Cambodia, where they have the potential to cause serious ecological harm.
Sustainable and cost-effective asset disposal solutions
At Absolute IT Asset Disposal, we provide a cost-effective data sanitisation and recycling service for end of life IT assets to fit in with your asset management cycle, ensuring your sensitive data is protected and recyclable materials handled correctly. Please call 01332 371989 today for a free quote.
Image Source: Pixabay