Secure IT Asset Disposition Your Five Step Plan

Topics: IT Asset Disposition

It’s time to tackle your “dead equipment” room and get rid of all that old gear in a safe, secure way.

FAST FACT: According to the EPA’s most recent Statistics on the Management of Used and End-of-Life Electronics, only 25% of electronics are recycled properly, with computers collected at the highest rate (38%).

DID YOU KNOW? According to, electronic waste contains some very toxic substances, including mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, beryllium and brominated flame retardants.

The pile is growing. Old and obsolete equipment continues to collect in your office’s nooks and crannies, and you’re not sure what to do with it.

What you do know, however, is that you can’t just chuck it all out with the trash. Data security and data privacy regulations, as well as electronic waste (e-waste) disposal laws, demand that you come up with a plan for what has come to be known as secure IT asset disposition. Without secure procedures in place, your company could risk data breaches, legal penalties and a battered reputation.

Take Smaller Bites

Managing your IT assets through their entire lifecycle is a big job. Deal with that huge task by breaking it up into some easy-to-accomplish steps:

1. Create an action plan. Bring together everyone who needs to be involved—IT, legal and office management staff, and even C-level executives. Consider creating a decommissioning and asset management plan that makes data removal from hardware devices your highest priority. Evaluate the costs of managing an IT asset disposition plan—as well as the potential costs (legal and otherwise) of not doing it. And when these issues start to stump you, consider getting help from a third-party disposition expert with the expertise you need to address your data destruction and asset disposition needs.

2. Ask: “It’s demolished, but is it gone?” Before you get rid of your old hardware, you must ensure that all the data on it has been permanently destroyed and is nonrecoverable. A trusted partner can help you establish a defensible, documented and repeatable process to prepare, handle or transport, and destroy data both onsite or offsite, using methods that comply with the latest U.S. and international standards.

3. Ensure that offsite, secure disposition processes are in place. It’s 10 p.m.—do you know where your equipment is? You need to know the whereabouts of your assets throughout their destruction process. That secure chain of custody is vital to prove you’ve complied with regulations. A trusted partner can provide auditable verification and strict security practices that include GPS tracking, protected transportation and a documented chain of custody. That means peace of mind (and a good night’s sleep) for you.

Playing by the Rules

When your secure IT asset disposition strategy is e-Stewards®-certified, you meet the strictest compliance regulations. The e-Stewards certification identifies companies committed to standards that dictate that your old electronics should not:

  • Get “relocated” to developing nations
  • Be incinerated or dumped in landfills
  • Be disposed of in any way that puts recycling workers’ health and safety at risk
  • Be at risk for security breaches of any kind

Adhering to these standards can help protect your private data, your reputation and your bottom line.

4. Keep an eye on the prize: your bottom line. Getting managerial buy-in for an environmentally friendly philosophy usually doesn’t work in the corporate arena. Focus instead on the bottom line, making the case for the cost savings and risk management you can achieve by clearing out the old to make way for the new while also guarding against data breaches or thefts. Retiring old assets at the right time cuts maintenance costs, software licensing costs and even leasing overages.

5. Publicize your compliance achievements. When you choose a partner that conducts electronics recycling in accordance with the e-Stewards Standard for Responsible Recycling and Reuse of Electronic Equipment®, you know that your equipment is going to be destroyed or recycled without being exported, improperly incinerated, or landfilled in a way that could harm the local water supply or affect other natural resources. That matters not only because regulations demand it, but also because recycling the right way gives your company green credibility. Go ahead and brag about it—make it part of your corporate responsibility message.

Secure IT asset disposition is about saving your company money and reducing its risk exposure. You can also work on saving the planet one asset at time.

Iron Mountain Suggests: Secure IT Asset Disposition

The Iron Mountain® Secure IT Asset Disposition service helps you destroy and recycle or repurpose your IT assets with reliable, environmentally friendly and secure best practices.

  • Secure chain of custody: With auditable verification and strict security practices that include GPS tracking, protected transportation and a documented chain of custody, you always know where your assets are.
  • Data security: Prior to asset disposition, you need to know that all computer media and data are permanently destroyed and nonrecoverable. Iron Mountain’s Secure Media Destruction service helps get that done.
  • Environmentally responsible disposal: Iron Mountain partners with an e-Stewards® certified electronic recycler, which means that your e-waste isn’t exported, landfilled or incinerated.

Do you have questions about data backup and recovery? Read additional Knowledge Center stories on this subject, or contact Iron Mountain’s Data Backup and Recovery team. You’ll be connected with a knowledgeable product and services specialist who can address your specific challenges.

Related Content:

Data Recovery Assess Your Downtime Risks

From Creation to Destruction: The Story of Your Data's Lifecycle

Four Reasons Why You Need a Backup of the Backup