5 Tips for Computer Disposal and Data Destruction

Posted by Frank Milia

Aug 17, 2015 10:42:00 AM

At ITAMG we have been advising our clients on the big picture best practices for IT asset management, computer recycling, and secure data erasure. The following are five specific tips to help you make the most of your IT asset disposal program.

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1)     Communicate your needs.  We can help with refresh strategy, relocations, and more. As an IT asset management and disposal vendor we bring a unique perspective and skill set to advising on refresh projects, office and data center moves, and general procurement strategies.

 

Do:

Keep your asset disposal vendor in the loop on any major projects that effect your business operations and IT planning. We are familiar with a wide array of challenges that large organizations face during various projects and are happy to help your firm conquer them all.

Don’t:

Don’t wait to the final hour of a large project to enlist the help of your disposal vendor. The more lead time given to prepare statements of work, an action plan, quote costs and returns, and plan logistics the more likely a project will conclude successfully and within budget.

 

2)     Reset or clear any BIOS and Admin Passwords from laptops in order to assist with data erasure and re-imaging of machines for refurbishment and sale.

 

Do:

Create a depository of admin passwords by model or other machine attributes to share with your computer recycling vendor. At minimum keep a master list of all Admin Passwords. If your firm can’t share Admin Passwords make sure to set to a default password before disposing of the machine.

Don’t:

Do not allow IT or other employees to create and use admin passwords that are not standardized or otherwise recorded for future reference. Don't expect full value for Apple equipment, laptops, or similar devices if admin passwords are not available or can not be reset prior to disposal. 

 

3)     Instruct users to remove returned Apple devices from their iCloud accounts. iCloud is used to track lost or stolen assets and unless a device is removed from a registered account your company or disposal vendor may not be able to legally reuse valuable and desirable assets.

 

Do:

Notify users across your organization that are using personal iCloud accounts on company assets to remove his or her device from the account when turning the asset back in. Create a depository for tracking iCloud user names and passwords for company generated iCloud accounts so devices can be removed from users profiles and sold or otherwise reused.

Don’t:

Don’t allow users to use personal iCloud accounts on company owned assets. Put a policy and process in place for users to use company provided iCloud profiles for company owned Apple devices. Managing the devices this way will allow your firm to control the devices on the user’s account and ensure the assets are reusable or eligible for liquidation returns at retirement.

 

4)     Manage end of life data security appropriately.  Lock up unencrypted media that are threats of exposure until data destruction is performed.

 

Do:

When pulling machines out of the working environment make sure all data containing devices or locked in rooms, cages, or containers that can only be accessible by employees with appropriate security clearance. Label and utilize locked containers to store any loose end of life media.

Don’t:

Don’t store assets or media in conference rooms, hallways, or open office spaces where the general public, building employees, or any other employees or visitors may be able to access them. Do not leave loose media or hard drives sitting in data centers, storage closets, or any other office space.

 

5)     Handle equipment with care during physical consolidation and internal relocation. Liquidation returns on equipment are contingent on the working and cosmetic conditions of surplus computer equipment.

 

Do:

Ask us about the safest way to move all different types of equipment. Moving equipment throughout an office using carts or commercial moving bins is probably your best option. Treat the equipment with the same level of care used during implementation when removing the equipment from the environment.  We are happy to provide tips on how to pack and move equipment efficiently and safely.  

Don’t:

Don’t grab or apply pressure to LCD screens, scratch screens by letting equipment rub together, excessively stack laptops, damage rail kits or face plates on servers, or cut power cords from UPS, power, or any other equipment.   Avoid packaging or dismantling equipment without clear direction from an ITAMG professional. Do not allow a commercial moving vendor to abuse retired equipment simply because it is categorized as excess, waste, retired, salvage or other.

 

Looking for more tips on getting the best value back on your company's responsible computer disposal practices?

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Topics: IT Asset Disposal, Computer Liquidation, IT Management, Electronic Waste Management

Performing IT Asset Disposal Vendor Due Diligence (Part 2)

Posted by Frank Milia

Apr 1, 2015 8:38:00 AM

Part 2: Documenting a Site Visit to an IT Asset Disposal Service Provider

In this second installment of best practices for vetting a disposal vendor and documenting a process for electronic waste disposition IT Asset Management Group (ITAMG) is advising organizations to prepare for audits around eWaste recycling, environmental compliance, and data security for end of life media and IT assets by performing and documenting a site visit to the disposal vendor’s facility.

ElectronicsRecyclingFacilityIn the first post ITAMG described the importance of having a Master Service Agreement that covers the critical components of any IT asset disposal program.

It is important to note that the burden of performing due diligence when selecting a vendor and developing a compliant process extends further than signing an agreement with a third party vendor. It is in the stakeholders’ best interest to investigate and document firsthand the capabilities and infrastructure of any vendor handling electronic waste or data destruction projects regardless of the reputation, certifications, or track record the vendor may present.

Performing a site visit will help your organization vet a computer recycling firm by confirming and documenting several attributes and capabilities of the vendor. Consider you may be looking to confirm something as basic as the recycling vendor is operating inside a building with four walls and an enclosed roof (which is not surprisingly a requirement for many 3rd party certifications) all the way to more complex receiving, audit, and technology driven capabilities of the vendor such as the inventory tracking system, data wiping, and refurbishing capabilities of the firm.

Key attributes of the recycling facility and process to document:

  • Access controls and security of building, technical areas and warehousing
  • How and where shipments are received
  • Tracking process for loads and assets from receiving to shipping (recycle or final sale)
  • Process, tools, and infrastructure used to wipe and physically shred or destroy hard drives and other electronic storage devices
  • Inventory management system capabilities and equipment audit process
  • Inspection for general health and human safety conditions
  • Dismantling, refurbishing, technical, and packaging capabilities of the site

During your visit to the electronics waste recycling or IT Asset Disposition vendor’s facility take careful notes on the vendor’s process, infrastructure, tools, software, and volume of equipment in processing and assets in warehousing.

Ask questions to determine if the amount of assets your firm will be generating for disposal is in the scope of what the operation can handle. Use your best judgment to determine the capability of the vendor to service your needs in a timely manner.

Some vendors may have issues with photos being taken in certain places, but where allowed take as many photos as you can and use these photos to document your visit, the process, and capabilities of your selected vendor.

A documented site visit is a powerful display of performing due diligence and to mitigate liability of an unlikely breach or exposure that could occur from an improper computer disposal.Once you have performed and documented your disposal vendor site audit, consider setting a reoccurring meeting to go over any major process or facility changes that may occur over time.

In the coming weeks we will be following this post with more on how to document your due diligence in sourcing downstream waste handlers, maintaining a secure data destruction program, and other important asset management, certification of destruction, and financial considerations to account for. 

 

Download the ITAMG Inventory Template Today to Get The Best Value For Your Company's Responsible Recycling:

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Topics: IT Asset Disposal, Electronic Waste Management, Risk Management

IT Asset Management Group Becomes EPEAT Champion

Posted by Frank Milia

Mar 24, 2014 1:57:00 PM

IT Asset Management Group (ITAMG), a leading provider of IT asset disposal, data destruction and electronics recycling services, has joined the EPEAT Champion program. EPEAT is the definitive global rating system for greener electronics. Becoming an EPEAT Champion complements ITAMG’s goal to reduce the hazardous effect of surplus and end-of-life technology through refurbishing, reuse and electronic waste recycling.

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As an EPEAT Champion, ITAMG will promote the use of the EPEAT system among its major enterprise, institutional and public-sector clients. Using EPEAT, purchasers and procurement officers can easily identify and compare thousands of environmentally preferable devices based on more than 50 environmental criteria, including energy use and recyclability.

“It is in the best interest of our environment, and ITAMG’s core business, when large organizations make purchasing decisions that value the length of an asset’s life, the amount of recyclable material that makes up the product, and are designed to easily dismantle for more efficient reuse and recycling,” said Richard Sommers, President of ITAMG.

Frank Milia, Vice President of Account Management at ITAMG, added: “We are excited to promote the importance of green purchasing decisions as an EPEAT Champion.  We know our work with EPEAT will support our current client base by providing resources that simplify purchasing decisions and improve the end of life cycle management of retired and surplus IT equipment.”

IT Asset Management Group works with large organizations and provides IT liquidation, computer equipment recycling, and secure data erasure and on-site hard drive shredding services.  Since 1999 ITAMG has been delivering a full suite of IT asset disposition services to a national client base of government agencies, private firms, and fortune 1000 companies.

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Topics: IT Asset Disposition, Electronic Waste Management, EPEAT, Green Technology Procurement

Beyond Computer Recycling Initiatives

Posted by Frank Milia

Feb 19, 2014 8:46:00 PM

When it comes to recycling there is always room for improvement. From coast to coast exciting initiatives are taking root. 

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On the east coast, in New York City, the  Apartment Building Recycling Initiative is underway.  Individuals living in NYC apartments that are interested in seeing recycling improved in their building, and motivated to spread the word to their neighbors,  can sign up to take part in this Initiative.  Qualified residents will attend a training seminar and the BWPRR staff will visit each building to evaluate the current recycling setup. The recipient of the training will receive suggestions on recycling process improvements building- wide.  For more information you can visit  Apartment Building Recycling Initiative.

As a New Yorker working in the electronics recycling industry I’m thrilled to see an education and advocacy program like this launching into action.  The NYS Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act has been signed since May 2010 and mandates that manufacturers institute take back programs for electronic waste, and consumers of all types are legally responsible to ensure proper recycling of regulated electronic waste.

Thus far education and promotion of these new state regulations have been lacking and therefore enforcement of the laws through fines for non-compliance have been few and far between.  Grassroots education programs like the Apartment Building Recycling Initiative should create a space where the city can successfully educate its citizens on topics like computer recycling without incurring the high costs of television and print campaigns.   

On the west coast, we see San Francisco sprouting with innovation in apartment building recycling efforts as well. San Francisco is taking this model even further by providing Textile Recycling Bins.  This innovative step in recycling may ultimately help lower the 39 million pounds of textiles which end up in the city’s landfills each year.  The bins which will be managed by goodwill have a sensor to alert when the container is full. The clothes will be re-used (through sale on the secondary markets) or recycled into insulation.

This type of change in the approach to recycling is inspiring for each of us to do our part.  While it is critical to continue our own daily recycling procedures and educate our neighbors on how to do the same, it is equally important for us to cultivate the future improvements to recycling and reuse of goods and materials.   

 

 

 

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Topics: eWaste Disposal, Electronic Waste Management, Recycling Initiatives

Electronic Waste Problem to Increase a Dramatic 1/3 by 2017

Posted by Frank Milia

Jan 16, 2014 10:03:11 AM

 

E-waste is on the rise and the impending result will impact us all.  

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According to a USA Today article referencing a UN Study, “The mountain of refrigerators, cellphones, TV sets and other electrical waste disposed of annually worldwide is forecast to grow by a third by 2017.”  In 2012 there was 53.9 million tons, and this forecast will bring that number to 72.09 million tons in 2017.  Findings were based on estimates of product life along with actual data regarding discarded products in several countries.

 

The United States was the number one contributor to e-waste, followed by China.  These are frightening numbers and this e-waste problem must be addressed through initiatives and legislation.  Fortunately steps are being taken in a number of areas to address this growing problem.

 

The Environmental protection agency is collaborating with “Solving the E-Waste Problem” (“StEP”) to focus on this issue.  StEP has published a world-wide map which drills down on country by country data referencing equipment on the market yielding e-waste.  This information is eye-opening.  StEP has set up an initiative with five task forces to address growing e-waste concerns. By addressing policy, redesign, reuse, recycle and capacity building, analysis is done and recommendations and action can be taken to ultimately provide solutions to this mounting problem.

 

In addition, while laws vary by country, legislation was introduced in the U.S. to address the export of e-waste concern. The Responsible Electronics Recycling Act of 2013 (RERA) would make it illegal to send e-waste from the U.S. to developing nations.

 

As our society continues to focus on upgrading consumer technology more waste will be generated.  All of our efforts must be stepped-up to recycle properly.  We need a continued focus by organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency, StEP, IT asset disposal providers, electronic waste recycling companies, and government agencies to set in motion recommendations, programs and legislation so as a global community we can reduce the harms of the drastic increase of waste generation forecasted to take place by 2017.   

 

Download the ITAMG Inventory Template Today to Get The Best Value For Your Company's Responsible Recycling:
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Topics: IT Asset Disposition, eWaste Disposal, Electronic Waste Management

    

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