Re-engineering Your It Asset Management Strategy For Corporate Data Security And Environmental Compliance

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Regardless of your company’s size or industry, improper IT asset disposition imposes a number of significant consequences on the health and viability of your business.

May 26, 2023 mins
Re-engineering your IT Asset Management Strategy for Corporate Data Security and Environmental Compliance | abstract digital security icons

Regardless of your company’s size or industry, improper IT asset disposition imposes a number of significant consequences on the health and viability of your business. The push for a sustainable, environmentally-friendly tomorrow is impacted by outdated or improper IT asset disposition (ITAD), to say nothing of the brand loyalty and financial damages associated with a data breach or compliance violation.

This article will examine the challenges associated with improper IT asset disposal, while offering strategies to implement a solution that aligns with a push toward sustainability. The adoption of a circular economy – coupled with a commitment to a scalable ITAD solution – can propel your business to the forefront of the environmentally-conscious operators striving for a greener tomorrow.

The alarming growth of E-Waste and the need for sustainable solutions

The ever-expanding scale of today’s business environment – coupled with the array of technologically-innovative devices populating the workspace – has dramatically shortened the lifecycle of your IT assets. The correlation between expansion and an appetite for bleeding-edge technology has resulted in unprecedented amounts of electronic waste – also known as e-waste.

According to the Global E-waste Monitor Report of 2020, a record 53.6 million metric tonnes (Mt) of electronic waste was generated worldwide in 2019, up 21 per cent in just five years. For perspective, that’s the equivalent of 350 cruise ships the size of Queen Mary II, enough to form a line more than 125 km long. The new report also predicts global e-waste – consisting of any discarded products with a battery or plug, such as computers or mobile phones – will reach 74 Mt by 2030, almost a doubling of e-waste in just 16 years.

New Zealand is estimated to produce 17.49 million tonnes of waste per year, of which e-waste constitutes the fastest growing toxic waste stream in the country. According to a report published by RNZ, the average New Zealander contributes more than 20 kilograms of electronic waste each year, one of the highest per-capita rates on the planet.

What is propelling the adoption of IT asset management solutions

The rise of the circular economy

These staggering figures align with an increased focus being placed on the global carbon footprint. The circular economy – a protocol that repairs, refurbishes and reuses existing materials for as long as possible – is attaining unprecedented levels of board-level attention. Over 90% of S&P 500 Index companies are now publishing sustainability reports, a number that is steadily increasing, according to recent statistics published by S&P Global.

While cloud migration and the adoption of new technologies may incentivise companies to dispose of their outdated or end-of-lifecycle assets, supporting the push towards environmental sustainability is cited as the number one reason ITAD strategies are implemented.

Data security concerns

The second most commonly-attributed reason businesses employ secure IT asset disposition is the increasing regulatory governance and financial penalties associated with a data breach. The careless management and improper disposition of IT assets could prove detrimental to both the environment and the security of private individual information.

Fines and penalties for improper ITAD and informal recycling are significant, for example in NSW the maximum penalties for corporations totalling $5,000,000 for wilful offences and $2,000,000 for negligent offences.

Best practices for re-engineering your IT asset management strategy

Understanding the importance of proper ITAD on data security and e-waste sustainability is just the first step. Implementing an effective IT asset management strategy is next. Here are some best practices to successfully re-engineer your IT asset management strategy:

  • Conduct a thorough assessment of your current IT assets and ITAD practices. Understanding existing processes will allow you to pinpoint areas with the largest potential for improvement, so you can create a targeted plan.
  • Define clear policies and procedures to guide the use, management, and disposal of IT assets. Communicate the updated policy to all stakeholders and ensure they are adhered to.
  • Establish metrics to measure the effectiveness of your IT asset management strategy, and refine your strategy periodically.
  • Invest in the right IT asset management tools, technologies, and services. This includes asset tracking software, data security solutions, and responsible ITAD services.
  • Partner with a trusted ITAD vendor that understands your business priorities and guarantees adherence to the local data security and environmental regulations in your industry.

How does your IT asset management strategy line up against data security and environmental compliance regulations?

Over 60% of global organisations do not implement a globally structured, well-defined ITAD programme.

Iron Mountain’s Riz Masurekar, Regional Director -Asia, Asset Lifecycle Management recognises the limitations facing workforce implementation of ITAD solutions.

“Often the risk management, due diligence and decision making is restricted to one team, and left to the procurement of the most suitable ITAD vendor, based on availability and price.”

How does your organisation’s ITAD practice line up with the reality of today’s business environment?

  • An estimated 50% of companies hold onto at least some end-of-life IT assets.
  • As many as 37% of businesses simply dispose of retired IT assets or retain in-house unused hardware.
  • Retained assets are often left with critical data – up to 22% of old IT assets have not been wiped.

Embolden your IT asset management strategy with Iron Mountain

The right IT asset management solution is secure, cost-effective and fully adherent to government sustainability regulations. By aligning with a provider that guarantees compliance with regulatory governance, you can focus on the continued implementation of environmentally-responsible business practices.

A comprehensive IT asset management solution embraces the operational infrastructure of the circular economy, while focusing on the following key sustainability drivers:

  • Redeployment of assets for reuse within your organisation.
  • Remarketing of assets for resale to a third party, in order to extend their lifecycle.
  • Recycle old assets for use of parts.
  • Recycle your IT assets in order to capitalise on their salvageable components.

How a comprehensive IT asset management solution works:

The circular ITAD services lifecycle begins initial contact to a repurpose service provider. They’ll securely collect your end-of-lifecycle assets, and audit them to provide insight into the elements and components that can be repurposed. Testing and reporting procedures will then commence, followed by the data erasure of any stored materials. At this point, your repurposed IT equipment is ready for redeployment and remarketing.

Elements of your assets are either recycled or remanufactured, with detailed information sent back to you regarding the environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) journey of your former hardware. You’ll receive a final report and certification, before reestablishing contact when you’re ready to begin the process anew.

Iron Mountain’s end-to-end IT asset management services offer bespoke, transparent solutions that adhere to both your data security and environmental compliance requirements. Our IT asset recycling and disposition services prioritise data security and brand protection, while providing your organisation with insight into how you’re contributing to the circular economy. Together, we’ll mitigate the risk of data breaches by ensuring you’re accurately dispositioning your IT assets once they’ve reached the end of their lifecycle.

Paul Flatt, Director, APAC, Asset Lifecycle Management for Iron Mountain, details the evaluation process for your end-of-lifecycle devices. “We secure customer assets across the globe using the same protocols. Once we acquire the asset, it is logged – as well as barcode and scanner tagged – so that we can track it. From there, the asset is transported to our secure vault, or one of our trusted partner facilities. We determine the value of the asset or its components, and then erase and override the data so it is no longer accessible, and then we can begin the repurposing or disposal process.”

Iron Mountain is proud to offer a Responsible Recycling process, as an R2 Business Solutions certified partner. This union ensures your ITAD assets are protected from the data, health and safety risks associated with improper recycling and repurposing methods. Secure disposal at an R2-certified facility takes the vulnerabilities out of your end-of-lifecycle strategy, as traditional electronic graveyards are exposed to theft and other risks.

Iron Mountain offers comprehensive reporting and analytics of our disposal and IT disposition services, designed to empower and educate your workforce as to the efficiency of your sustainability efforts. There’s a movement to treat retired tech assets like renewable resources – and your business can play a vital role in increasing the awareness of e-waste responsibility.

Manage, protect and recover value from your end-of-life IT assets with Iron Mountain today.