One of the major challenges businesses face regarding data security is the constant evolution of technology. Each time you introduce a new IT system or technology into your organization, you need to understand how to use it and how to protect the data it handles. Even something as seemingly simple as selecting a hard drive destruction service or replacing outdated equipment can become a daunting task when data security is at stake.

Simply unplugging obsolete technology and handing it over to your hard drive destruction service may not be enough to fully protect your organization’s sensitive data. That’s why many companies have started incorporating IT asset disposition (ITAD) processes into their data destruction policies.

What is IT Asset Disposition?

IT asset disposition (ITAD) is the process of decommissioning and disposing of electronic equipment and any devices that store data. This term is often used in data-heavy industries, but any business can adopt ITAD best practices. The core idea is to take a comprehensive approach to data protection when disposing of any devices, even before turning them over to your hard drive destruction service. ITAD principles also emphasize disposing of decommissioned devices in the most secure and responsible way possible.

You might be thinking, “We already shred our files and devices and work with a trusted hard drive destruction service. Aren’t we already managing ITAD correctly?”

Maybe you are! But there could be gaps in your data security processes that adopting an ITAD-driven approach to data destruction could help close.

How Do Businesses Use ITAD?

How your organization implements ITAD depends on your industry and specific needs. There are ITAD companies that specialize in helping businesses decommission and dispose of IT equipment. This service can be useful if, for example, a company wants to remove all the servers in its data center but lacks in-house IT experts to erase all the data from those servers.

Another scenario where an ITAD service is beneficial is when a business has a contract stipulating that client data cannot leave the premises for any reason. Or if your business wants to donate its old IT equipment to another organization but needs to ensure all data is wiped first. In these cases, it might make sense to hire an IT asset disposition company that can decommission and wipe all equipment on-site before taking it away for disposal.

Most businesses, however, can manage their ITAD programs internally, in partnership with a trusted data destruction company for final disposal. The goal is to make the best decisions at every step when disposing of obsolete electronics.

ITAD Best Practices

If your organization already has stringent data security processes in place, you’re likely in good shape regarding ITAD best practices. Here are three essential practices you should be following: 

Decommission before disposal. Even with a reputable data destruction company managing your business’s obsolete electronics disposal, there is always some risk when you relinquish control of devices that still contain data. If your data destruction policy doesn’t already require devices to be wiped of data before they leave your premises, implement this change immediately.

Manage e-waste responsibly. A well-managed ITAD program ensures that all your business’s obsolete devices are responsibly disposed of after decommissioning. If you’re having hard drives and other data-storing devices shredded or otherwise destroyed (rather than donated or sold), verify that your destruction service recycles any recoverable materials. Familiarize yourself with current e-waste laws and local e-waste resources for safely disposing of any technology requiring special handling.

Maintain thorough records. ITAD should generate a paper trail. Keep records of any serial numbers or other identifying details of all technology you’re disposing of. Track the chain of custody and the physical location of each decommissioned item as it leaves your business. Collect destruction certificates from your hard drive destruction service and keep them in your records.

ITECH Recycling is here to help your business manage IT asset disposition securely and cost-effectively. We’re more than a hard drive destruction service—we’re a resource you can rely on for any questions about protecting your company’s data. Contact us today!

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