By Ronald Belensky, Director of Sales
When our team asked me to participate in writing a blog, my brain started churning on potential topics. Who would it target? How can I make it meaningful and useful? At first, I thought I would discuss sales leadership or key account management, which could help spark new creative juices into the minds of sales professionals.
Then when I probed our team a bit more on the audience, it hit me; I realized there was a topic we actually run into repeatedly. Hardware asset management, and specifically hardware asset elimination, is a tedious part of the world of IT asset management.
We see clients struggle with this time and again as they modernize systems throughout their environment and move more and more to the cloud.
If you’re relatively new to IT Asset Management (ITAM) as an overall function, TechTarget has a useful overview that you might want to check out here for more details. Essentially it’s the process of managing hardware throughout your environment, and then as systems are modernized, identifying legacy hardware that’s ready to ‘sunset’ off your network and recycled through an ‘asset elimination’ project.
So in this blog post, I’ll cover a few effective tips for safely managing the disposal of hardware assets while protecting your sensitive data. We will also delve into regulatory and compliance mandates in the United States and highlight the potential cost savings businesses can realize through proper disposal practices.
But it’s not as easy as gathering up your dusty servers, routers, and old laptops, then calling the local tech recycling company. The question is: how do you execute hardware asset elimination in a safe and compliant way without putting your data or company at risk? And is there a way to actually generate revenue in the process?
As businesses upgrade their technology infrastructure, the need to dispose of outdated hardware assets becomes inevitable. However, it’s crucial to prioritize data security and comply with regulatory mandates to avoid breaches, fines, and reputational damage.
So, here are some tips for assessing the value and risks of your hardware assets and safely managing them one step at a time.
1. Inventory all hardware assets, then evaluate the condition and potential resale value of each. In this step, it’s important to identify potential risks associated with data storage on each device.
2. Create comprehensive backups of all necessary data, and deploy data destruction methods such as wiping, degaussing, or physical destruction. If needed, there are professional data destruction services for large-scale disposal projects that can be of tremendous value.
3. Securely remove data from laptops, mobile phones, routers, switches, and the like using secure erasure tools. Be sure to use industry-standard data sanitization methods (e.g., NIST SP 800-88) to ensure comprehensive removal. Also, verify data erasure success using multiple passes or third-party certifications where necessary.
4. Find environmentally friendly disposal options, such as e-waste recycling and related initiatives. There are certified recycling companies that adhere to compliant and proper disposal protocols, so verify anyone you consider is properly credentialed. Once you determine a disposal path, document the disposal process and maintain those records for compliance purposes.
BONUS: Depending on the value and volume of your assets being disposed of, you can often sell your hardware to a certified e-waste vendor. In my experience, where the value and volume are relatively significant, the selling price can often be injected back into your budget to fund new projects.
5. Ensure you’re familiar with and following all applicable regulatory and compliance mandates, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), and the Federal Trade Commission guidelines on data security. Additionally, if there are state-specific data disposal laws, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and/or industry-specific regulations like the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) if you handle credit card data, then these must be followed as well.
6. Maintain ongoing compliance by developing internal policies and procedures for hardware asset management and disposal in the future if you have not already done so. This includes training employees on proper data handling and disposal protocols, as well as conducting periodic audits to ensure adherence to all relevant regulatory and compliance requirements.
7. Beyond profiting from the disposal, be sure to avoid potential fines and legal penalties for non-compliance. According to an article from CSO Online, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney paid $35 million in fines for the improper disposal of devices containing customer persona identifying information (PII).
In the End, Get Your Hardware Asset Game Together
If all of that seems overwhelming and time-consuming, which it is, reach out to us to help you remove your excess technology. Safely disposing of hardware assets is a critical process that requires careful attention to data security and regulatory compliance. By following the outlined strategies yourself or having us handle the heavy lifting and carrying for you, your business can protect sensitive data, avoid legal repercussions, and reap both cost-savings and potential revenue benefits of proper disposal. Remember to stay informed about evolving regulations and leverage certified professionals for secure data destruction.
Unsure of how to remove your excess technology?
Our team of experts is ready to help you with all your technology needs. Contact us today at (800) 544-8877.
“Ron serves as the Director of Sales at MicroAge. With nearly three decades of experience in business development, Ron supports associates in engaging clients and prospects and creating positive outcomes through coaching, mentoring, and management.”Ronald BelenskyDirector of Sales