Why ITAD Is Essential to Managing E-Waste and Old Data

by | Mar 6, 2019

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Photo credit: Handles, Flickr Creative Commons

Like most acronyms, ITAD is a bit of a mouthful. It stands for Information Technology Asset Disposition, and while it doesn’t roll off the tongue, it is increasingly essential in securing old data and managing e-waste. So, what does this entail and how can it really help organizations?

ITAD is essentially the business of disposing of outdated, unviable, or undesired equipment, in an environmentally safe and responsible manner. Everything – from data centers, servers, and storage through to PCs, PC components and monitors – gets old and unusable at some stage. So, what do you do with it?

Electronic waste, or e-waste, creates an estimated 20 to 50 million metric tons of hazardous waste each year, according to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and the demand for upgraded tech is only increasing. These figures place pressure on users and manufacturers to provide solutions that will minimize contribution to the e-waste mountains growing in developing countries around the globe.

Replacing and updating your company’s technology is simple, but disposing of this equipment without contributing to environmental hazards, while also protecting your data, requires a more complex strategy. ITAD companies specialize in these processes. Focusing on responsible and cost-effective disposal, or remarketing of IT assets where profit is viable.

Can ITAD make you money?

ITAD companies provide the convenient service of purchasing your excess IT equipment and removing it for safe disposal, recycling, or resale. They can also be responsible for the secure decommission your data center (not to be confused with ITAM). Once they have obtained your surplus equipment, they will utilize the IT asset disposition market, and their own end-user network to recoup as much value back as possible. To put it simply, ITAD is any process related to getting value back from IT equipment. To comprehend ITAD in more depth, it is vital to investigate this in context – specifically how the IT asset disposition market, and value recovery process work.

Selling old kit on the market

The IT asset disposition market is where ITAD companies can remarket the IT assets they have obtained. There are several ways of making a profit from these assets, such as coordinating with other ITAD companies to source the highest bidder, relying on broker bins, or direct contact with other ITAD companies. However, most ITAD companies will sell directly to the end-user, to source the most profit.

With an estimated 100 ITAD companies currently operating, it is important to make an optimal choice when considering your options for both removal and decommissioning services. In addition to getting the most value back from your IT assets, protecting sensitive data may be of the highest priority, and ensuring that environmental regulations are up to spec. Regardless of your specific needs, there are aspects that will probably inform your decision process.

A quick decision-making checklist

If you have the bulk inventory you need to replace, you will probably need a decommissioning service. But which service? Does your proposed ITAD partner have the following?

  • On-site pick up and drive erasure
  • Onsite packing, palletizing, and decommission services
  • Electronic recycling services (if you have just a few pieces of equipment, you can probably ship the material yourself)
  • Free shipping insurance
  • Fast processing
  • Open chain of communication

If you have very valuable, sensitive IT and data and need this decommissioned look for the following:

  • Highly trained ITAD technicians
  • R2/E-stewards certification
  • Short net payment time frames

Whatever the case, do your research. Look for an ITAD company that has years of experience, as well as one with a reputation for fair dealings. Don’t hesitate to get multiple quotes and use the competition to your advantage.

By Jeff Bittner, Founder and President, Exit technologies

This article was originally published in Business Partner Magazine and was republished with permission.

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