Straight From the Source: How to Fulfill E-recycling Data Requests

Posted by on February 12, 2019

As an IT manager, incoming requests from various departments within the company can be daunting. Whether you are resolving issues with working or non-working IT assets, you are responsible for ensuring data security, IT budget management and environmental considerations.

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A recent study of 7,500 full-time employees determined 23 percent felt burned out at work often, and 44 percent felt burned out some times. Unmanageable workloads was noted as a major contributor to burnout, but the pressure is high to ensure productivity is up and threats are down.

When retiring your technology there are many things to track and perspectives to consider. Accounting will want to know costs for disposal, information on any resale that took place, verification of freight bills, and more. Corporate risk management may want to know more about the security standards of the vendor and request proof of data destruction.

These are two examples, but the point is, final retirement of technology assets involves several departments within an organization, each with unique requirements. Partnering with a vendor who can guide you in managing these requests, as they relate to IT asset disposition (ITAD), will help you address them in a streamlined manner.

Here is what we recommend to fulfill separate departmental requests.

IT DEPARTMENT: Maintain a strong IT asset inventory list.

A strong IT asset inventory list will support any IT department by helping manage the use and disuse of IT and electronic equipment. This information should include items that are working and non-working and makes it more visible to highlight areas of risk, threats and vulnerabilities making them easier to resolve.

Your IT asset inventory list should:

  • Define ownership: Assign owners to each device, and define acceptable use to each owner.
  • Track value: Understand accurate value of equipment.
  • Manage software: Become aware of which devices have software licenses in need of updating, or which retired devices still have unused software installed.

When items are removed from their live environment, IT managers need to confirm secure and responsible disposition of all IT assets. These vendors can help manage this for you, by providing you access to an IT asset disposition portal.

Within a portal you should be able to type in a serial number or asset tag, and see an item’s status. It will generally list if the asset has been processed and provide details on the service, location and certificates if needed.

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ACCOUNTING: Complete audit trails of IT assets during disposition.

If accounting ever needs information regarding specific IT assets, this is where a web portal comes into play. Making sure your vendor has a portal that is accessible, easy to use, and automated can make these requests much less complicated.

Having access to a web portal is a great way to track where your IT assets are at all times which is helpful when a department requests status updates. There are often scenarios where items need to be retrieved after they have been sent to the recycler. Web portals give users the ability to locate an item and confirm its condition/status.

Accounting departments may be granted access to web portals as well for additional billing information. Payment details can be provided to understand reuse sales, verify freight bills, and know what vendors charged for different services.

Verifying systems for asset tracking of your ITAD vendor will help you understand your vendor’s process and provide affirmation of their reliability.

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UPPER MANAGEMENT: Total value recovered from retired IT assets.

Obviously it is beneficial to explore opportunities to maximize the value of your IT equipment. It is helpful to become familiar with a vendor’s reuse process to determine exactly how items are resold. This will help you understand their knowledge of the market and confirm ethical practices. Monthly business overview reports should be requested so you can review and analyze the resale of your IT and electronic equipment.

Reports can expose valuable data including how much they resold, what they resold, and how much items were resold for. You can get specific with dates requested, service-level agreements, and information about the order placed, including when it was received. This information can be sent days before you are invoiced and presented a check. If your vendor has a dashboard in their portal, this can provide a high-level overview to see a snapshot of what is happening.

Global ITAD vendors have the advantage here of a network that can offer management of supply and demand, and secure high retail prices even when an over-supply suppresses prices in a single region. This global sales network can offer insight and exposure to other markets, and can be a huge advantage when trying to maximize value of units, components or parts.

Do not be afraid to ask your vendor what platform(s) they use for reselling equipment, and try to get an idea of their market knowledge on a global scale.

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CORPORATE RISK MANAGERS: Assurance of environmental and security risk protection.

Corporate Risk Managers need confirmation from IT departments that all end-of-life IT assets are securely disposed of. Certificates of data destruction and responsible recycling are often provided to offer Risk Managers confirmation that their material has gone through the appropriate processes.

Your ITAD vendor should provide proof of data security throughout the entire disposition process. One of the first concerns that comes up is transporting equipment to a processing facility safely. With rising cargo theft incidents, where the second most-stolen material (16 percent) in the United States is electronics, it is critical to consider security of equipment during transit.

When IT managers are not comfortable transporting their data-bearing items they utilize on-site options for data destruction. These services enable you to have your media storage devices wiped, degaussed and/or shredded at your location which will eliminate data risks during transit.

Sims Recycling Solutions’ on-site services offer for certificates of destruction to be printed and provided on-site following shredding, as well as asset tracking which will typically include recording of make, model, type and serial numbers. Clients are invited to witness the destruction as well to provide further confidence of data destruction.

If there are any useable items you wish to have resold, you may choose to not destroy the item, but rather have the data wiped. You can request a data wiping certificate for documented verification that erasure was executed properly.

As an IT Manager, having access to these certifications is helpful, but providing Corporate Risk Managers with their own custom access to a portal can be an even better solution. Some web portals are able to offer custom visibility to provide only relevant information to each user. Corporate Risk Managers might need to regularly ensure all certificates are up to date, so the ability to find this on their own can be valued for efficiency.

*Tip for IT Managers: It might be a good idea to also demonstrate the sustainability of the business when presenting your ITAD and/or e-recycling vendor to any Corporate Risk Manager. Check if they have any financial or annual reports to review their business stability. Financial status, size of the company, and reputation are great examples of information to search for. ITAD and e-recycling companies that go out of business will not be concerned about what happens to your items after they close their doors.

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CORPORATE SUSTAINABILITY MANAGERS: Estimated sustainability and environmental impact

Most e-recycling and ITAD vendors should be able to offer two types of sustainability reporting. One report will disclose if the company (vendor) itself has a strong commitment to preserving resources and contributing to circular economy initiatives.

Additional reporting to request would be anything to help break down the positive impact your company had on the environment over a certain period of time. A report like this might include a breakdown of quantities and types of equipment recycled. It would then analyze and disclose how the responsible disposal of your IT and electronic equipment might have made an impact environmentally.

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Vendor selection should consider immediate and future corporate requirements, including fulfillment of your company’s internal needs and requests. An ITAD partner with broad capabilities can reduce administrative overhead, simplify vendor relations, assist in hitting environmental targets, and improve overall accountability.  

Learn more with these 6 ITAD tips that are too important to ignore.

[Webinar] IT Asset Disposition & GDPR: What you Need to Know

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