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Technology is evolving rapidly and refreshes cycles are shrinking. As a result, the process of IT asset disposition (ITAD) is more complex and introduces significant business risks for you and your organization.


IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) is a program that safely disposes of IT assets having e-waste such as old PCs, tablets, servers, and disk drives in a way that guarantees against inadvertent disclosure of data. In some cases, the equipment may be destroyed through shredding or grinding. Or it may be cleaned and re-sold, with the customer receiving a percentage of the residual value.


When faced with a lot of old computer equipment, it's a natural impulse for an IT manager to simply want to find someone who will make it all go away. But disposing of IT assets isn't the same as throwing out old desks and chairs. Computers, disk drives, cell phones, flash drives, and even printers may contain sensitive data, vulnerable to being breached, which could leave a company facing lawsuits, regulatory action, and brand damage.


Deleting data or formatting storage media is no protection. Those processes simply remove digital pointers to data, but they don't delete much of the data itself. Even disk drives that have been formatted multiple times may still have plenty of recoverable information.


ITAD is a specialized discipline that incorporates multiple checkpoints, protections, and an audit trail, as well as verification of data erasure and asset destruction. We suggest seeking ITAD providers that employ the following practices to make the process secure (SITAD):


Auditable process and workflow - Each item marked for disposal should be logged in an inventory and tracked through the entire disposal process. The inventory management system should flag any missing items and create an exception report. The customer should be able to audit the process at any time.


Secure logistics, transportation, and vehicles - Items can fall off open truck beds, and unlocked vans are an invitation to thieves. Look for ITAD providers that use closed, secured transportation and secure handoff points monitored by closed-circuit cameras.


Visibility into project status - Customers should never be in the dark about the status of their surrendered equipment. An online tracking system, like that used by package delivery services, should enable customers to identify the precise location and status of their equipment whenever they desire.

Background-checked employees – Anyone who will touch your equipment should be background-checked, and employment policies should detail behavioral standards and penalties for noncompliance.


Proof or certification of destruction - This is a document that verifies that equipment has been scrubbed, recycled, or destroyed in a manner that satisfies the terms of the contract. There is no governing body that issues certificates of destruction, so it's best to work with an ITAD supplier that has been certified by a respected third-party standards organization.


Full erasure of assets to be remarketed - If assets are refurbished and remarketed, your ITAD provider should give you a certificate that verifies complete erasure or destruction of storage media that was on those assets.


Guarantee of zero toxic material deposited to landfill – E-waste is a growing problem, particularly in underdeveloped countries. Computer equipment contains toxic metals and chemicals that can pollute groundwater and cause regulatory and public relations headaches. Your ITAD provider should comply with all relevant standards.