The world of technology moves lightning fast, which means replacement of critical infrastructure occurs regularly. For data center owners and operators, this turnover presents not only a security risk but lost revenue, sustainability challenges, and confusion over what the process is. What are the best practices and what should owners and operators consider?

First, owners should take an active role in the IT asset destruction (ITAD) process itself. A primary component is throughput, which means owners should monitor their equipment assets to ensure they don’t lose money due to depreciation.

Second, owners must take data destruction seriously. This means both erasing hard drives and or shredding them mechanically; however even these relatively easy decisions come with decisions such as, to what millimeter size should the disks be shredded? Should the shredding be conducted on premises or off-site and, if off-site, how will the equipment be moved?

Finally, there are environmental compliance factors to consider: Who is handling this material? Does the process meet the client’s environmental and sustainable goals as well as the industry’s compliance requirements?


The risks of improper ITAD

Laws regulating the hazardous material, which includes data center equipment, means companies can be fined for improper disposal of this equipment.

Many companies have their own sustainability goals and environmental public profile to maintain. To that end, improperly disposing of IT hardware can be a public relations nightmare, especially in the age of social media.

And, depending on what happens after removal, companies have a social responsibility to ensure that wherever the equipment ends up, it is not an environmental hazard.


Ensuring compliance

In many companies, ITAD is not considered a core competency, which results in asset retirement being either an afterthought or a once-in-a while maintenance issue. In these cases, companies should look for a vendor that carries the pertinent certification to ensure that ITAD is handled in a fiscally and environmentally responsible manner. It is important that companies check that these certifications are up to date.

Ideally, a company’s ITAD program should include the following factors:

  • A complete inventory of the client’s equipment
  • To suggest and secure agreements with ITAD vendors that have all the necessary capability to include “live take outs” if needed
  • Logistics
  • Geographical infrastructure
  • Proper environmental certifications
  • Understanding the data destruction capabilities of the vendor, and how those capabilities meet or may not meet the data destruction criteria of the company
  • Further, to understand the nature of the ITAD vendor agreement; to negotiate the best possible agreement on behalf of the client for not only the highest rev/share ratio; but moreover to ascertain the top line revenue streams. To further understand that those revenues are commensurate with current market levels both for reusable and for recyclable commodities
  • To analyze the cost associated with the formula provided by any potential vendors and negotiate the best possible direct cost structure

In addition, the ITAD company should:

  • Monitor equipment values as they change over time
  • Practice good vendor management by securing ITAD vendors by geography, certification, and throughput capability
  • Compliance through documenting and reporting
  • Logistics, which moves assets expeditiously to maintain their value
  • Settlement by reconciling discrepancies between the parties that need to be negotiated
  • Engage reporting such as full asset management documentation for operations and finance
  • Ensure data security

Ultimately, an ITAD program will protect the company’s reputation and bottom line. The key is to find a good asset disposal partner. 

*Serviecycle manages a multitude of vendors on behalf of the client for ITAD.