During times of change, don’t overlook the importance of asset recovery and recycling. Here’s what to keep in mind.
Whether you’re liquidating, downsizing, or moving, you will likely need to answer the same question: What should your business do with excess electronic equipment? The fact is asset recovery and recycling are not only necessary but can also help you soften the financial blow to your evolving business.
These days, most business owners are well aware that sending electric equipment to landfills is a no-go. Stringent environmental regulations, as well as laws governing the disposal of private and personal data, mean there are very specific steps you need to take when the time comes to part with your surplus IT assets.
Based on the questions that we receive, though, few companies know where to begin, which is hardly surprising. During stressful times like a big move, business liquidation, or significant downsizing, you naturally have more concerns than what to do with company servers, computers, laptops, specialty equipment, and more.
But, at some point, it needs to go. And that’s when an expert partner for asset recovery and recycling enters the picture. So, what should you do next?
Identify the right ITAD and recycling partner
The field of IT Asset Disposition services has, as E-Scrap News has also noted, become increasingly crowded. A quick Google or Bing search will turn up countless companies that, on the surface, are hard to tell apart.
Even if you have worked with a certain company in the past, it may not automatically qualify for your current needs. In the same vein, it may specialize in recycling but only have limited knowledge about e-commerce marketplaces which could help you recoup value when you need it most. When it comes to optimal asset recovery and recycling, there are a few telltale features that set the top performers apart from the pack.
Anyone can use the ITAD label. The presence of specific certifications, on the other hand, guarantees your partner has systematically attained an industry-approved level of expertise. As the regulatory environment becomes more complex, certified ITAD services mean your partner adheres to best practices for managing the disposition of your retired IT assets. Two certifications, in particular, stand out in the realm of electronics recycling: NIST SP 800-88 and R2.
- The NIST standard (the National Institute for Standards and Technology) provides the most comprehensive guidelines for media sanitization.
- The R2-certification ensures your partner meets the highest environmental and safety standards for the recycling of used electronics.
Remarketing reputation to count on
It takes years of dedicated work to establish strong remarketing channels. A 5-star rating from tens of thousands of satisfied buyers requires relentless attention to detail. In other words, maximized value recovery does not materialize overnight.
When a company has no choice but to liquidate or downsize, the remaining IT assets are often excellent candidates for resale. But, again, not all ITAD companies are created equal. Check your prospect’s online resale ratings and areas of expertise. Do they know how to remarket, let’s say, medical or specialty equipment that yields especially high returns when leveraged in the right marketplace? What share can you expect to get in return? Are there hidden fees you should be aware of? (Also of note, supply chain woes have amped up interest in resale markets)
Transparency provides necessary safeguard
Can you audit the data destruction and e waste processes? If the nature of your business involves, for example, proprietary or private consumer data, this service is, of course, of particular importance. Whether you’re in healthcare, telecommunication, finance, or defense, you really can’t be careful enough. As recent post-disposal data breaches show, you can count the cost of carelessness in millions of dollars in fines. When your assets enter resale, you must know that your data has been completely destroyed.
Witnessed destruction, for instance, means you can have a company representative on-site to ensure the data is sanitized in accordance with your contract and industry standards. (At GER, witnessed destruction follows a three-step process). You should also be able to conduct a spot check based on serial numbers to check the data destruction process for yourself.
Certificate of data destruction: because promises are not good enough
Verified data destruction is crucial. For highly regulated industries, such as telecommunication and healthcare, nothing short of data sanitization will do to comply with data privacy laws. For this purpose, ensure your prospective ITAD partner provides a certificate of data destruction with a serialized inventory of data-bearing assets.
Customization puts your company first
A-la-carte restaurant meals are better than a box from the frozen section. We can apply the same truth to ITAD. A solution tailored around your needs beats having to fit into a rigid structure. Customization paves the way for a real partnership in which you can leave the problem-solving to your ITAD partner while you focus on running your business.
Preserve IT asset value
We have written a number of posts on what companies can do to leave their assets in the best shape possible for resale. Since a business going through liquidation or making a move typically needs to part with equipment that has not reached end of life, this step becomes all the more crucial. In sum, bear in mind:
Carefully select data destruction methods:
Unless required by regulation, degaussing and hard drive shredding disqualify your assets from entering resale (they can still be recycled). The practice of degaussing not only renders the data irrecoverable; like shredding, it also physically destroys the hard drive. In other words, it makes it that much harder to recoup value. Yet, it’s a fairly common practice. Instead, leverage the expertise of your ITAD partner to find the most optimal method for your situation. A device sanitized to the NIST 800-88 standard will make your data irrecoverable while leaving it fit for resale.
At first glance, do-it-yourself asset disposition may seem tempting. But a poorly designed DIY asset disposition program can do serious damage to your corporate risk mitigation strategy. To fully understand the scope of an effective ITAD strategy, consider, for example, all the pieces required to get it right. From tracking and decommissioning to logistics, data sanitization, resale, and recycling, it’s a momentous job. Few companies have the bandwidth or knowledge to take it on, especially during a move or liquidation.
Know how to package IT assets:
This step is more important than you think. Assets that break in transit take an unnecessary bite out of returns. That’s unfortunate since it doesn’t take much to actually get it right. Your ITAD partner should be able to provide detailed instructions on what to do. We have also created a video on best practices for e waste recycling, including packaging tips.
Finally: the last phase of asset recovery and recycling
Once you have found the right partner, packaged your IT assets, and scheduled a date for pick up, your job is done. It won’t be long before you receive a detailed report of your assets sold. And, finally, your company gets paid (it’s our favorite part).
Please don’t hesitate to reach out. We can’t wait to help you get started.