There are some situations on the business agenda where it can make sense for businesses to take a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach. For example, in the aftermath of a small coffee spill on the carpet, it might be simpler, faster, and cheaper to head to a local hardware store (or online store) and purchase a cannister of carpet detergent versus to call in a crew of industrial cleaning experts.
However, there are other situations where taking a DIY approach in business is unwise, dangerous, and potentially catastrophic — and atop this list is IT asset disposal. According to Global Electronic Recycling, which provides a full range of end-to-end specialized recycling solutions, here are the five key reasons why:
1. Security Risks
Most businesses believe that merely overwriting disk data — often through the use of free or inexpensive online tools— is sufficient to prevent their proprietary information, sensitive material, and other private and confidential data from being accessed by a third party at some point down the road.
Unfortunately for such businesses, this belief is categorically wrong and could lead to very costly and problematic breaches, compliance failures, lawsuits, fines, sanctions, and lasting reputation damage.
Global Electronic Recycling, which is headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, notes that is absolutely essential for businesses to ensure that all data on disk drives, including removable devices, are completely wiped of all sensitive data using technology that meets the Department of Defense 5220.2-M standard. This means that all addressable disk drive locations are overwritten with a character, its complement, and a random character. Afterward, this procedure must be properly verified.
At the same time, many businesses overlook the fact that sensitive and private data does not just live on disk drives. It is also commonly found on photocopiers, cell phones, and even fax machines. All of this data must be completely and properly deleted before an asset is resolved and re-marketed.
2. Financial Risks
Most businesses that attempt a DIY approach to IT asset disposition do not fully monetize their end-of-life assets, because they are not aware of their value in the marketplace, and do not have an established distribution network. The result is that businesses typically leave thousands of dollars on the table that they could otherwise reclaim and allocate in their organization.
Global Electronic Recycling adds that most businesses are so fed up with storing shelves and piles of e-waste — everything from old copiers that have not worked in years, to boxes of smartphones and IP phones, and the list goes on — that they are happy to simply get rid of it and reclaim office or warehouse space. However, they should not overlook the fact that end-of-life assets can in most cases generate revenues; especially if the assets are functional and there is demand in the secondary market.
3. Supply Chain Risks
Businesses that DIY IT asset disposition is typically unaware of state-level laws— or, in their absence, best practices — that mandate each asset to ultimately determine what assets were destroyed, repurposed, or recycled.
This is also the case when businesses choose an unqualified company that is essentially an e-waste hauler, and not a legitimate IT asset disposal firm.
4. Environmental Risks
Many businesses that try to manage IT asset disposal themselves lack the expertise, resources, and tools to properly recycle complex IT parts, which often need to have toxic components extracted so they do not leach into the soil and water. At the same time, such businesses do not have the capacity (or even the awareness) to extract heavy metals such as palladium, gold, silver, and copper; all of which can be re-used.
Global Electronic Recycling adds that a legitimate and comprehensive end-of-life management solution, such as the one that the companyhas in place, follows the requirements of the RIOS:2016, R2:2013, ISO14001:2004, and ISO 9001:2008 standards, respectively. In addition, their acclaimed zero landfill approach ensures that customers’ assets are fully recycled, which minimizes — or better yet in some cases, eliminates — landfill use.
5. Ethical Risks
The good news is that, as noted above, end-of-life assets can be re-marketed and used for many years in the future. However, the bad news is that sometimes these assets end up in developing countries that enable (tacitly or blatantly) unethical practices, such as the use of child labor.
Unfortunately, businesses that take a DIY approach to IT asset disposal typically have no idea where their assets end up — and as such do not know if they are part of the solution, or unintentionally part of the problem.
The last thing that any business wants to do is to contribute to something as inhumane and unacceptable as child labor. Tragically, however, this can and does happen without proper tracking, transparency, and traceability.
The Bottom Line
As noted in the introduction, there are indeed situations where taking a DIY in business might make sense. However, IT asset disposal is clearly not one of them due to substantial security risks, financial risks, supply chain risks, environmental risks, and ethical risks.
Global Electronic Recycling concludes that businesses that wisely partner with a proven and legitimate IT asset disposal firm also discover just how efficient and streamlined the process is.
They do not need to wade through piles of e-waste and spend hours — or more like days and weeks — meticulously trying to wipe data, and hope that they do not make any errors or that their wiping software does not over-promise and under-deliver. Everything is handled on their behalf, including asset retrieval from their premises or an off-site storage facility. It is all gain and no pain.