Technology is at the forefront of nearly every company's operations. Technology is critical to success, whether processing transactions, communicating with customers or managing operations.
As such, companies invest heavily in IT assets to ensure they have the tools to reach their business goals. However, as these assets become outdated or reach the end of their lifecycle, they can become a burden for the organization.
This trend has left a significant amount of surplus IT assets that often take up valuable office space or, worse still, are thrown away in a costly and environmentally unsustainable manner.
To tackle this issue, IT asset recovery (ITAR) should be essential to an organization's ITAD (IT Asset Disposal) program. IT asset value recovery involves identifying and recovering the value of surplus, retired or end-of-life IT assets. It can result in benefits such as maximizing value recovery and promoting sustainable business practices.
Why invest in IT asset recovery?
The turnover of electronic equipment within a business is necessary and many options are available regarding the disposal of unwanted equipment. ITAD ensures complete data erasure from redundant assets, allowing them to be sold to other companies.
One of the key reasons why IT asset value recovery is beneficial to a company is it can help you maintain your organization's revenue.
Reusing or reselling surplus, end-of-life IT assets can recover some of the initial investment made in the assets. You can then reinvest this revenue into new technology or other business areas.
By maximizing the value of existing assets, organizations can recoup value and reduce the risk of incurring fines for improper disposal.
Performing IT asset recovery
Maximizing the value of their company's IT assets should be top-of-mind for ITAMs as it positively impacts the bottom line, generating revenue to upgrade current equipment or invest in other business areas.
So, what steps are required to perform successful ITAR?
1. Inventory management
Regular inventory checks allow ITAMs to identify surplus or end-of-life equipment. An up-to-date inventory management process highlights which devices are still valuable for the company and which can be recovered for their residual value.
Asset inventory management involves keeping track of IT assets, including hardware, software and licenses. It gives you an overview of the costs you're committing to maintaining your IT environment and lets you track if any hardware or software applications have been stolen.
IT asset inventory management is a process that requires regular updates to provide the most accurate information to influence business decisions. Inventory updates can be done at a frequency that suits the company, but ITAMs should conduct at least one full inventory check once a year at minimum. Inventories must be updated when a new asset is acquired, an asset is retired or changes are made to an asset's configuration or location.
2. Data destruction
Before any device is retired or resold, all data housed on the device should be securely and irreversibly destroyed. Data destruction must go beyond simply factory resetting devices, as data can still be stored from regular use.
ITAMs can leverage several data destruction methods to ensure data security, such as overwriting, wiping, degaussing or physical destruction.
Overwriting uses software to wipe all sectors of a hard drive or digital storage media, overwriting existing data with unreadable characters.
Overwriting is a time-consuming process that can take up to several hours for each device. This technique requires information to hide the data, so users can't overwrite a corrupt or broken hard disk.
Data wiping involves erasing data from electronic media so users can no longer access it. This method is performed by connecting them to a wiping device or using wiping software.
The main benefit of wiping is it saves a device's essential operating features for future use, meaning companies can retain the asset for practical or financial reasons.
Degaussing is the demagnetization of a storage medium to neutralize and destroy data. High levels of magnetism destroy devices beyond use, making it one of the most secure data destruction methods.
The drawback of this process regarding ITAR is it becomes unusable when you degauss electrical equipment. Therefore, the asset can't be moved on for reuse.
There are many ways to physically destroy data. These methods include drilling, melting, shredding or any other process that makes physical storage media unreadable.
Much like degaussing, this method isn't recommended for IT asset recovery as it doesn't preserve the storage medium for reuse.
4. Refurbish, resell or repurpose
For any IT equipment that still has a use, ITAMs can refurbish or repair them to extend their lifespan, making it easier to resell, reuse or donate the equipment.
Once data has been securely erased and the equipment has been refurbished, ITAMs can look for resellers or third-party vendors specializing in IT asset value recovery. Alternatively, the equipment can be repurposed for internal use in other departments.
5. Responsible recycling
In some cases, IT equipment may have lost its residual value and needs to be recycled responsibly.
ITAMs should work closely with e-waste recycling service providers that remain compliant with recycling standards and dispose of equipment in an environmentally sustainable manner.
In some cases, IT equipment may not have any residual value and needs to be recycled responsibly. ITAMs should work with e-waste recyclers that adhere to responsible recycling standards and dispose of the equipment in an environmentally sustainable manner.
IT asset recovery: The benefits
Companies should invest in their IT asset recovery strategy for many reasons. These strategies present financial, data security and environmental benefits.
The primary goal of an ITAR strategy is to regain a proportion of the capital you initially invested in the asset, improving cash flow within the business.
IT asset recovery strategies also help you maximize the value of each asset. Redeploying an older device to other employees will generate cost savings compared to replacing equipment completely.
You can also mitigate data security issues and cybersecurity risks with an ITAR strategy. IT asset recovery partners help protect company data in a compliant manner during the asset recovery process.
ITAD services will know local data destruction requirements and ensure compliance through asset tracking and specialist data wiping techniques.
Refurbishing or reselling equipment may not always be possible. Even when a device reaches end-of-life, it still holds residual value. Components can be extracted and sanitized before entering a remanufacturing process.
This prevents e-waste from going to landfill and reduces pollution. Plus, there's a reduced need for the virgin mining of precious metals that already live inside our existing technology.
How to ensure maximized value of your IT assets
There are many steps to maximize the value of the IT assets within your organization, but knowing the right procedure can be challenging.
That's why we've put together a checklist that walks you through maintaining socially responsible procedures when disposing of IT assets.
The checklist covers many areas, including business continuity, asset value optimization and risk management.
To maximize the value of your IT assets, access your free copy of the checklist by clicking below.