3 Myths About IT Asset Disposal and Electronics Recycling

Posted by Frank Milia

Sep 18, 2015 3:37:56 PM

Many companies in the electronics recycling and IT asset disposal industry utilize scare tactics and try to focus a buyer’s attention on false narratives to win new clients and increase profitability of contracts.  We believe in transparency and educating our clients.  Here are some facts in response to three common myths being disseminated by disposal service providers. 

The Myth: Allowing a disposal vendor to reuse or sell your equipment creates additional liability for your organization.  Allowing the third party vendor to sell the equipment will be a problem for your organization since the item can be found in a landfill in the future or can otherwise be utilized inappropriately. 

Some of our competitors use this inaccurate storyline to convince organizations to dispose of valuable equipment at an inflated cost under the premise that the vendor will be destroying the equipment and no asset will be sold as a functioning unit that can be traced back to the original owner.  Whatever the IT asset disposal vendor’s motive is, the idea that all surplus computer and IT equipment must be dismantled and destroyed to remove downstream liability is flawed and environmentally irresponsible. 

The Fact:  With best practice data destruction and chain of custody processes in place selling surplus assets is a secure, environmentally responsible, and an economically practical solution for retired computer equipment.  All organizations should document IT asset disposal work with serialized inventory reports, transfer of ownership statements, bills of sale and link transactions to a formal master service agreement

The IT asset disposal vendor should be utilizing an inventory management system that can track the asset from receipt from client to the sale to end user or downstream partner in order to address any unlikely disputes or exposures that could be inappropriately traced back to the disposing entity.  

Consider other common situations of transferring assets such as selling a car.  Would one expect to be liable after legally selling a car with appropriate documentation to a buyer who then goes on to cause an accident? 

Call Them Out:

If a vendor has made this claim ask him/her to provide proof of a real world example where an organization has faced a fine, legal trouble, bad publicity or any other liability related to the sale of company IT assets.  Ask the vendor to provide any legal documents to support this claim.   

The Myth: Only vendors with this (insert any third party certification here) are doing things right and any other provider will be breaking environmental regulations and putting your organization at risk. 

When a competing vendor has very little to display that will separate their firm from the pack they might inflate the importance of the specific third party certifications they hold and make false claims that these certifications are the end all to your organization’s liability concerns.

The Fact:  There are two prominent certifications (R2, e-Stewards) commonly obtained by ITAD providers and these certifications include requirements to hold ISO 14001 as well as OHSAS health and safety management systems.  Both certifications are very similar, but neither guarantees a vendor will be compliant with your company’s environmental policy or legal regulations.

Doing your own vetting, documenting due diligence, and implementing a formal agreement is as important as your vendor maintaining a third party certification. 

Call Them Out:

If a vendor has made the claim that the certification they hold is superior or a must have certification ask them to prove this with metrics and supporting facts.  We also urge you to do your own research and see that the EPA and the Federal Government's policy, driven by an executive order from the President of the United States of America, values these certifications but does not favor one over the other.    

Myth: If your current provider is paying you for equipment or providing a no cost solution they are breaking environmental regulations and must be dumping the waste illegally either domestically or internationally. 

Many competitors utilize this scare tactic to get valuable equipment from companies and collect inappropriate fees. 

The Fact:

If an IT asset disposal vendor is buying your surplus equipment at a reasonable value it would make no business sense for that vendor to then throw away the stock or illegally export it as waste.  When a vendor pays for equipment your organization is at less of a risk.  In order to sell the surplus equipment the ITAD vendor will have to wipe data, clear networking equipment, re-image, and warranty the equipment as a functioning system to another buyer.

All ITAD providers should be able to provide a pricing model that accounts for the market value of a client’s disposable equipment.  If the equipment does not have value the client should incur a fee for destruction and management services.  If the equipment has some value but only covers the operating costs of the vendor a no cost solution can be appropriate and fair for both parties.  If the equipment’s value significantly exceeds the logistics and operating costs of the disposal vendor a credit or cash back for the equipment is due to the client. 

Call Them Out:

If a vendor makes this claim again ask them to provide a real world example where assets sold to a computer disposal provider at reuse value created a liability, fine, or negative publicity for the organization disposing of the assets.  Ask the vendor why would a company pay for a company’s disposable assets, or even take on the logistics costs of removing the equipment if they could not turn the product back into a profitable sale on the secondary markets. 

Looking for a tool to get the most value back on your company's IT disposals?

Download the ITAMG Inventory Template Today:

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Topics: IT Asset Disposal, eWaste Disposal, Risk Management

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?

Download the ITAMG Inventory Template Today:

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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

Calculate the Value of Used Computer Equipment

Posted by Frank Milia

Sep 16, 2014 2:27:53 PM

Perhaps the most common question people ask IT Asset Management Group is how do we figure out what surplus IT equipment is worth? In order for ITAMG to provide our clients with bids, proposals, and projections for surplus and end of life computer equipment, we research the most current sales pricing and values available on the secondary markets. We analyze the inventory of equipment our clients wish to dispose of and use recent sales and current offers on equipment in order to gauge what a fair market value is.

 

IT asset disposal ny

 

The value of used IT equipment is no different than any other product or commodity and is governed by the laws of supply and demand. New software platforms, product releases, regulations, canceling of product lines or support and technology trends will change consumer demands for refurbished computer equipment and in turn effect the value of equipment on the secondary markets and what an IT asset disposal vendor will be able to pay out during a liquidation.

For instance, the value of useful equipment can be drastically reduced when a large organization disposes of a high volume of equipment in a small period of time. If a company decides they are no longer using a specific blade server, and disposes of thousands of a specific type of blade, the market will become flooded with this item.  In this situation, regardless of the equipment’s technological viability, the price will plummet on the secondary markets.

These factors are why ITAMG relies on the most current market information in order to develop our pricing and sales strategies. We work with enterprise clients to develop programs and processes to increase the returns during computer liquidation.

We understand our clients' and community may benefit from a tool that would provide quick estimates on what surplus computer equipment may be worth. That is why we developed the ITAMG Depreciation Calculator that enables our clients to plug in the original purchase price of equipment and determine the deprecation cycle stage as well as an estimate on what the fair market value of the equipment might be.

Download the Depreciation Calculator

ITAMG does not use this calculator to determine value propositions or bids for used computer equipment, but it is a handy tool to develop a refresh strategy and estimate how much returns a future disposal could generate.

Get The Depreciation Calculator

 

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Topics: IT Asset Disposal, computer hardware, Computer Liquidation

5 Attributes of a Successful IT Asset Disposition Program

Posted by Frank Milia

Aug 25, 2014 2:29:00 PM


Government agencies, corporations, and various institutions are taking measures to improve IT asset management and disposition practices in order to mitigate risk of a data breach, achieve environmental initiatives, and ensure optimal financial performance. The following are some key pieces to building a secure and efficient IT disposal program.  

Apple_Equipment_Liquidation


 

1. Implement and utilize an asset management and inventory system

An asset management program’s success will be driven by the inventory tools and processes in place to track assets from cradle to grave, or in other words from the time of an asset’s implementation until the asset is recycled or liquidated. The inventory management system should be utilized to document when an asset is disposed of, its final destination (vendor and asset status), and what administrator or manager signed off on the disposition.

Having robust asset management data that includes model numbers, serial numbers, and other attributes and specifications of equipment also allows an organization to bid out an asset disposal contract more effectively and for more competitive returns.    

2.Track and maintain documentation of disposition and data destruction of assets

Asset management disposition data should be reconciled with the data provided by a firm’s disposal vendor. These inventory reports, settlements, and certifications of destruction and proper handling should be maintained in accessible formats.

The most sophisticated asset disposal programs utilize integration with a disposal vendor’s asset management software in order to confirm and document the disposition of an asset.  In the case of a full integration an asset management team can mark an item as shipped or disposed of and track the receiving, processing, sale, or recycling of the asset.

3. Sign a formal agreement with an IT asset disposition vendor or managed service provider

Take the steps to put an agreement in place with an IT asset disposal provider that documents your firm’s due diligence, understanding, and expectations of the vendor and performance milestones of the disposition program.

A standard Master Service Agreement (MSA) should include the following:

  • Data security and privacy policies (including process for disclosure of potential exposures)
  • Commitment to environmental recycling controls and compliant waste management

  • Insurance coverage

  • Overview of service levels, process, financial obligations, reporting and billing standards

4. Develop a data destruction process driven by NIST 800-88 Guidelines for Media Sanitization

If you’re unfamiliar with NIST 800-88 you can learn more from this introduction blog entry.

Developing a data destruction program to the best practices outlined by NIST 800-88 will ensure end of life data security as well as develop a process to maintain audit ready documents that are necessary to validate a firm’s data privacy compliance.

A program following the NIST 800-88 method will identify risk, categorize media, select effective eradication methods, set quality assurances, record and certify destruction of assets, and place responsibility of the program’s success on senior managers.    

Every organization should be considering the risk of a data breach caused by improper data sanitization and set eradication methods and disposal processes according to data privacy laws and industry specific regulations (e.g. HIPAA for health and human services).

5. Create an accounting mechanism to keep liquidation returns in the IT budget

IT asset managers and acting directors are tasked to quantify value to executive management and IT operations. Efficient liquidation of assets can yield significant returns, and these financial recoveries should not go unnoticed.

IT asset managers should develop accounting mechanisms to track returns from the disposal program as well as to keep the funds in the IT budget. This can be achieved by using a credit system for future product purchases or services instead of receiving direct payments from a disposal vendor. The disposal provider can provide goods and services directly or partner with an OEM or VAR to do so.  



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Topics: IT Asset Disposal, IT Management, data sanitization, NIST 800-88

    

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