Following best practices and government regulations related to the disposal and reuse of IT devices involves many steps, from organizing and sorting through the equipment to securely destroying data prior to remarketing. But between these individual steps, large volumes of materials need to be transported safely and reliably. Herein lies yet another challenge related to IT asset disposition that is easily overlooked.
No matter if the IT assets are being resold, recycled, securely destroyed or some combination of these, they need to be transported off-site at some point. This invites a host of concerns that must be addressed to ensure the disposition process is completed on time, on-budget and according to applicable laws. Accurate chain-of-custody tracking is the best way to ensure each of these issues are properly handled and documented at each step of the ITAD process.
Security threats in-transit
Over the years, data breaches in several different industries have been traced to instances where devices were somehow lost in transit. This is a concern that has persisted since digital data storage became widespread, and shows no signs of fading even today.
“In 2016, more than 1,000 data breaches involved devices in transit.”
One of the first well-publicized examples of a data breach involved insecure handling of data on the move. In 2006, an employee of the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs was the victim of a burglary at home. Thieves made off with the victim’s work laptop containing names, addresses, Social Security numbers and other personal data belonging to 26.5 million veterans and active-duty military service members. While the unencrypted device was later recovered and investigators determined it had not been accessed, it set an alarming precedent for future data breaches at numerous businesses, universities and health care providers.
The price of not following proper data security protocols in the transport of data, even for end-of-life destruction, remains an issue. In 2016, the Identity Theft Resource Center reported more than 1,000 separate data breaches involving the loss or theft of devices in transit. These events alone are estimated to have caused the exposure of some 36.6 million confidential records. While this is just a small fraction of all known data breaches, it demonstrates the value of safe transportation practices in ITAD.
Transporting IT assets invites a host of concerns that must be addressed to ensure the disposition process is completed.
Electronic waste often includes materials that qualify as hazardous waste. Batteries and computer monitors may contain substances like lead and mercury that are dangerous if improperly handled or disposed of. In general, improper disposal of electronics equipment can introduce countless chemicals, airborne pollutants and tons of solid waste into the environment.
To mitigate these risks, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency enforces strict requirements on anyone transporting hazardous waste, including e-waste. This involves documenting all applicable shipments from every step between pickup and the final destination. The transportation providers themselves must also be fully licensed and certified to handle the materials correctly and follow all recordkeeping practices. Of course, these rules must be upheld in a timely, methodical manner to meet the needs of businesses.
But IT assets often require additional precautions separate from hazardous waste requirements. Within the same device, there may also be sensitive data that must be protected in transit and destroyed according to protocol. Or there may be opportunities to recycle or remarket the materials rather than disposing of them.
Overcoming logistics hurdles
These unique needs each require more attention to logistics. At Sipi Asset Recovery, we meet these many challenges using a consultative approach to each IT disposition project. Sipi ITAD experts will meet with project stakeholders to design a transportation plan that ensures all IT assets are moved from place to place quickly and securely. In addition, we provide clients with real-time access to tracking documents and certificates through an online access portal.
The result of this attention to detail is a seamless integration between logistics needs and disposition requirements. That means more than just cost-savings – it reduces the risk of accidents and provides businesses with peace of mind, knowing their IT assets will be handled in accordance with regulations and corporate initiatives.