Lowering the Carbon Footprint of IT Asset Disposition

Posted by Frank Milia

Feb 14, 2020 9:37:41 AM

We here at IT Asset Management Group (ITAMG) regularly come across regional organizations such as universities, hospitals, media companies and local banks that are engaged with disposal providers that ship their retired IT equipment several hundred or even a thousand miles away to be processed.

Regional businesses and generators can drastically lower their costs and carbon footprint by switching to local, certified, and qualified IT asset disposal providers. National and global enterprises have a more complicated challenge to reducing ITAD related emissions than their regional counterparts (a longer post for another day).

Due to this, I would argue regional organizations have an even higher environmental and social obligation to source local vendors and significantly outperform the environmental impact of their peers that have global footprints.

Truck Pics

Local providers will also likely manage and operate in-house trucking, technicians and moving teams that will be typically perform better and be held more accountable for performance at the client site than providers that exclusively rely on third party transportation resources.

By using local trucking companies you also reduce the risk of a breech event or exposure related to third party transport of the material.     

Simply put, choosing local is good for our environment, improved performance of the disposal program, and is better for your bottom line.

If your firm is a regional organization (or otherwise) please consider reviewing your program to see if lowering carbon footprint through sourcing local vendors is an option available to you.  

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Topics: IT Asset Disposal, IT End of Life Strategy, ITAD, eWaste Disposal, Green Technology Procurement, IT Asset Disposal NY

Three Tips for Hiring an IT Professional

Posted by Ellen Clarke

Nov 19, 2013 10:00:00 AM

Hiring an IT professional can be tricky. While technical skills are the focus, considerations must be given to other attributes and experiences. The interview is the time to ask the targeted questions yielding critical information needed to make an informed decision.

Our hiring managers at ITAMG, an IT asset disposition and data destruction firm, have put together three important tips when hiring an IT professional.

1.     Have your interview questions prepared. A starting point can be found in Careerbuilder's Top Interview Questions. Your questions must be thoughtfully prepared to cover a variety of subjects. While asking about relevant experience is critical, other questions about interpersonal skills must be covered, such as, “how do you handle conflict, and provide an example of how you handled a difficult situation at your last job.

2.     Provide an atmosphere where the candidate feels free to open up. Greet the candidate with a firm handshake and a smile. Make small talk at the beginning of the interview. Never lead the candidate. Questions like, “Well you didn’t have any problems with your last manager, did you?” does not allow the possibility of an honest answer. Instead go with this, “In your last position did your manager give you a lot of freedom or was she more of a micro manager? How did you like working under those conditions?”

3.     Consider where you need this individual to be one year down the line. While not every IT professional will have the charisma of the best salesperson at your company, you don’t necessarily need him/her to. You do need someone, though, that can work with your team. Additionally, if you are looking to groom someone into a supervisory role, consider if this individual’s interpersonal skills will lead to success or failure.

IMG_1108

 

When hiring an IT professional, technical skills will always be the main focus. Through proper interview preparation one can take steps to identify these types of skills in a candidate. Never leave the interview without determining if the candidate has the interpersonal skills needed for the position. Ask your questions, and let the interviewee do the majority of the talking to ascertain if this candidate will succeed in your firm.

 

 

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Topics: ITAD, education & tips, Management Tips, IT Best Practices

ITAM: The most boring thing….

Posted by Steve Bossert

Sep 18, 2013 4:36:24 PM

ITAM stands for IT Asset Management, but there is often a lot of confusion when talking to  vendors that name solutions after industry terms, let alone a a certain company that just so happens to be named IT Asset Management Group.

All too often acronyms confuse people. According the International Association for IT Asset Management, ITAM breaks down to covering:

  • SAM (Software Asset Management)
  • HAM (Hardware Asset Management)
  • APM (Asset Portfolio Management)

From ITAMG’s perspective on ITAM, we see hardware having three broad categories. Owned Assets (OA) are the contracts, and hardware and software entitlements covered under SAM or APM and these are areas ITAMG does not currently focus on.

The others are Discovered Assets (DA) and Fixed IT Assets (FITA). This is where IT Asset Management Group can provide your organization with assistance as part of your ITAM, ITAD and EOL processes.

IT assets are very different that most fixed assets, like your chair or a mouse pad since they do not require specific software to run or are discoverable on your network. This is a major reason why ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software is not the best solution for tracking IT assets. Instead, IT assets often go through an Installed Moved Added Changed or IMAC process for short.

It is hard to inventory an IT asset until software has been installed, configured and then deployed. Your organization wont often be able to collect this information into a hardware asset repository until it is connected to your network. Too many organization rely on solutions like this and they should still take the time just prior to deployment to document these assets through physical or technology assisted means. Our paper on IT asset tracking methods goes into more detail about this.

Discoverable assets are by far some of the most important IT assets in an organization since they most likely contain a CPU. This is a major reason why many organization have stopped tracking things like keyboards, mice and even monitors. These are then often considered a fixed asset. Another way, while not always thought of as discoverable, is to think about all IT assets that are capable of storing information, like on a traditional hard drive (HDD) or a solid state disk (SSD).

The thinking is not cost driven, but because a device with a CPU or HDD/SDD must have software or information to make it useable and therefore can be exploited. A Dell 19 inch LCD monitor is not often thought of as hacking target for today’s cyber security bad guys.

ITAM Success

The goals of ITAM are simple enough. Focus on compliance, improve accountability and control your inventory. Following these goals should in most cases allow your organization to save money by preventing redundant purchases over time or better time new IT purchases based on asset devaluation. It may also even allow you to better negotiate with a certain software company based in Redmond, Washington should they decide to audit your discoverable assets for proper licensing.

As hardware assets near End of Life (EOL), you will have a leg up in the decommissioning process too. Having an accurate inventory list will not only help you check off desktops, switches, servers and laptops from active to retired status, it help help your disposition partner maximize value back to your organization and minimize risk associated with any device that was discoverable at some point and/or have information stored on it.

Most importantly, the finance and security compliance people will love you. It will make what they do easier since now more than ever they are often found at the intersection of technology created issues and business issues and could use your help.

Bored

This is why many consider ITAM boring. As an IT professional, you may rather spend your time talking with a technical account manager about the latest Cisco UCS server and Nexus switches or perhaps demo an IBM FlashSystem 820 with its low latency read and write times. This is all fine and good, but if you are thinking about how you can get a promotion if the path to CIO does not look promising, here is a great chance to start thinking about how IT impacts the overall business continuity of your organization.

Be the hero

Over time, inventory management systems have evolved into separate silos. There is one tool for managing and tracking routers. Another for desktops and laptops. None of these systems communicate. It is often not a simple task to generate a list of all discoverable assets in case your CFO demands an actual list when he realizes how much more new equipment that was just recently ordered and wants to know why. Should your CFO lead the charge in finding a solve all end all inventory and asset management solution? How will you handle end of life strategy or associate hard drives by serial number to the device they came from? Does your organization require on site disk destruction? What is the legal procedure for the release of certain equipment? Focus instead on being the hero by thinking about business issues and align yourself with the resources that can help you reach that goal.

Homework or “workwork”?

Reach out to your network of IT friends and find out who they use to help them with decommissioning, data destruction and all other ITAM, ITAD and EOL projects.Do some research on organizations that may be a good fit to service your organization, especially if HIPAA or SoX are often referred to in daily activities at your company.

The world has changed. Cyber security is the hot topic and within that realm, its not just about firewall management and locking down TCP/UDP IP ports.

ITAM may be boring at times, but it is the new imperative. And, in case you were wondering, there are 27 acronyms mentioned in this article.

List of Acronyms

  • APM – Asset Portfolio Management
  • CFO – Chief Financial Officer
  • CIO – Chief Information Officer
  • CPU – Central Processing Unit
  • DA – Discovered Assets
  • EOL – End of Life
  • ERP – Enterprise Resource Planning
  • FITA – Fixed IT Asset
  • HAM - Hardware Asset Management
  • HDD- Hard Disk Drive
  • HIPAA – Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
  • IAITAM -International Association for IT Asset Management
  • IBM – International Business Machines
  • IMAC – Installed Moved Added Changed
  • IP – Internet Protocol
  • IT – Information Technology
  • ITAD – IT Asset Destruction
  • ITAM – IT Asset Management
  • ITAMG – IT Asset Management Group
  • LCD – Liquid Crystal Display
  • OA – Owned Assets
  • SAM - Software Asset Management
  • SoX  – Sarbanes-Oxley Act
  • SSD – Solid State Disk
  • TCP – Transmission Control Protocol
  • UCS – Unified Computing System
  • UDP – User Datagram Protocol
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Topics: IT Asset Disposal, IT services, ITAD, data breach, education & tips, computer hardware

The Repercussions of the Poor Electronic Recycling Decisions of our Past

Posted by Frank Milia

Sep 18, 2013 4:35:39 PM

The government, corporations, and citizens in the United States have a higher awareness than ever before for the necessity to properly recycle electronic waste. Although there have been positive results from educating and regulating the electronic waste producers, collectors, and recyclers a great threat still remains.

In a recent New York Times article by Ian Urbina “Unwanted Electronic Gear Rising in Toxic Piles” the increased concern that electronic waste is being improperly handled is well documented. The article exposes a practice by electronics recyclers that promote their brand by deceiving clients with false claims of legal and ethical recycling procedures. In reality, these recyclers separate out valuable material and then stockpile, carelessly discard, or illegally export the remaining toxic waste

13737975_xl_electronic_waste

Cathode-ray tube (CRT) monitors and televisions are currently the largest threat to our environment from electronic waste. CRT products have a high cost of collecting, processing, separation, and of down-stream disposal of the toxic lead glass. Because of the high costs associated with properly dismantling and recycling electronic waste, the U.S. government has developed programs and incentives for recycling companies to collect and process the material. Many states also require manufacturers to provide “take-back” programs, which are typically contracted out to recycling companies.

Some recycling companies have taken advantage of these incentives and OEM contracts and are now stuck with product they cannot afford to process and in turn are abandoning warehouses full of electronic waste, land-filling the material, or exporting it illegally and then shutting down the business to restart under a new brand.

Ian Urbina claims that the federal government alone is disposing of 10,000 computers a week, and even many of their own disposal practices have been taken advantage of by parties who undertake fraudulent or illegal actions handling the waste. The burden of solving this problem is on the generators of the waste, all of us, to take the time to seriously investigate how our electronic waste is being handled.

There are some practices leading IT business decision makers can utilize in order to avoid contributing to criminally reckless recycling vendors.   Every IT department should have a written disposal policy that includes data security, environmental and social policy, a list of approved and qualified vendors, and methods for tracking the disposal of regulated electronic waste.

A qualified disposal vendor should be one that can provide verifiable data and tracking of the receiving, processing, and downstream recycling of material. Vendor selection should be made not only according to third party certifications (R2, ISO 14001, BAN etc.) but from evaluation of a vendor’s software reporting tools and transparent access to the recycling vendors’ processes, procedures, and physical facilities. Demand the same level of sophistication from an IT asset disposal vendor that you would from any other technology partner.

The past choice that some have made to utilize fly by night recycling outfits or select vendors without performing due diligence is one that will negatively affect our environment for years to come. The abandoned stockpiles of CRT monitors will be monuments to our collective poor oversight.

Today is a day to reflect on our past decisions and to pledge that we will do everything we can to ensure our electronic waste is processed in an ethical, secure, and environmentally sound manner.

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Topics: IT Asset Disposal, IT services, data destruction, ITAD, data breach, technology vendors, education & tips, computer hardware

   

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