Why Risk Management Strategies Must Include IT Asset Disposition

Why Risk Management Strategies Must Include IT Asset Disposition

Every organisation around the world should integrate IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) within their risk management strategies.

IT asset disposition must be considered within an organisation’s risk management strategies to manage the various risk vectors stemming from IT assets and their disposal. As an industry that is constantly evolving and adapting to real-world risks, the threat of costly data breaches from insufficient – or worse, a lack of – data security is simply too large to be ignored.

Below are some key reasons why risk management strategies must adapt and include a thorough ITAD strategy.

What is IT Asset Disposition?

The process of reusing, recycling, and disposing of redundant IT assets and electronics in an environmentally friendly and secure manner is commonly referred to as IT Asset Disposition (ITAD).

Businesses around the world use anywhere from a handful to thousands of IT assets such as computers, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones for their daily operations, resulting in a constant cycle of old, end of life (EoL) IT assets from their inventories.

For most organisations, ITAD is too complex for in-house teams and instead, a reliable ITAD Company is often needed to provide ITAD services on behalf of the client. There are many important considerations when choosing an ITAD partner, which we have outlined in a previous blog ‘IT Asset Disposition: Getting the Job Done Right’.

In brief, an ITAD company helps the organisation realise financial and environmental benefits as well as by providing secure data disposal, all whilst remaining compliant with data disposal laws and data privacy regulations in jurisdictions where the organisation operates.

The Importance of a Risk Management Strategy

Every business must have some sort of risk management strategy. While small businesses may have more informal ways of assessing and dealing with risks to their business, medium- to large-sized enterprises often have dedicated teams of risk management professionals that create highly detailed risk management strategies.

The key considerations of a risk management strategy include identifying risks and categorising them at the discretion of the risk management personnel. These categories are risk acceptance or tolerance, risk transference, risk avoidance, and risk reduction and where each risk is categorised will vary from business to business.

One major source of risks for businesses operating globally comes from data breaches and violations of data privacy regulations and laws. While many of the associated risks can be managed through robust cybersecurity and network security, the disposal of end of life (EoL) IT assets and the destruction of hard drive data is no less important to consider for an organisation.

Why ITAD is Essential for Risk Management Professional

All organisations in the modern digital business world must already consider the cybersecurity threats from hackers and cybercriminals to their networks and IT devices currently in use. Poor login credentials or weak passwords, for example, can enable unauthorised access to sensitive data held on the network and compromise data security.

Risk management professionals must consider these types of scenarios, but they should also consider the risks associated with improper disposal of hard drives and other devices. What good is a top-notch cybersecurity strategy if a criminal can simply access sensitive data from a discarded hard drive?

The reason why ITAD is critical for an organisation’s risk management strategy mostly comes down to the soaring severity and frequency of data breaches, many of which are directly attributable to the disposal of hard drives and IT assets.

The cost of a data breach has reached an all-time high in 2021 at an average of $4.24 million (about €3.74 million), according to IBM. Moreover, a study commissioned in the UK found that nearly four out of every 10 businesses had suffered a data breach in the past 12 months. The bottom line is that data breaches are occurring frequently and with potentially crippling damage both to the finances of businesses as well as to their reputation.

One common risk vector to many organisations in the past decade has come from Data Centre Decommissioning. As more and more businesses are choosing to migrate data to cloud-based storage solutions, the decommissioning of traditional data centres has led to massive quantities of hard drives and data centre equipment being discarded. Secure Data Centre Services from a reputable ITAD partner can help mitigate the risks associated with data centre decommissioning.

How to Include ITAD in a Risk Management Strategy

A risk management strategy should endeavour to include ITAD by assessing the following key points:

Data Security: consider how your organisation ensures that all sensitive data is destroyed from discarded IT assets. Deleting files or moving files to the Recycle Bin are not viable options. Data Destruction from Rapid IT ensures that all sensitive data is rendered completely irretrievable.

National vs Global Challenges: consider your organisational compliance with e-waste disposal and data privacy laws and regulations in all countries where your business operates. International organisations must consider every jurisdiction where they operate, which can quickly become a complex task.

Auditable Tracking & Processes: every ITAD process should be fully auditable to maintain accountability and assurance that your organisation is exercising full due diligence. Rapid IT provides fully auditable services to clients as well as Data Destruction Certificates, live inventory tracking, and full audit trails for clients.

Regulatory & Corporate Compliance: your organisation should always maintain compliance with regulations in every jurisdiction where it operates. Moreover, your ITAD strategy should work hand in hand with your organisation’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives.

Environmental Stewardship: disposing of IT assets should always be done in a sustainable, environmentally friendly manner to alleviate the growing global e-waste crisis. Rapid IT achieves this with an effective circular economy model as well as a Zero Landfill Policy that strives to reduce electronic waste that ends up in landfills.

Why an ITAD Strategy is Important for Global Businesses

While the importance of ITAD for a risk management strategy has been outlined above, there are numerous other benefits of ITAD for businesses.

By choosing a reliable, professional ITAD company such as Rapid IT , businesses stand to benefit from top-notch enterprise cybersecurity from EoL IT assets, maximum ROI on devices and equipment, and environmental benefits through the use of circular economy models which divert e-waste from landfills.

In addition, specialised ITAD services can help organisations thrive and succeed in a pandemic and post-pandemic world. Hybrid and remote working schedules have brought about new changes, new cybersecurity risks, and greater challenges for IT personnel as corporate-owned devices are now commonly spread across much greater geographical distances such as at employees’ homes.

Services such as Return TEK provide businesses in a hybrid or remote working arrangement with a streamlined and efficient tracking and logistics solution to this new phenomenon.

Create an ITAD Strategy that Manages Environmental & Security Risks

Two of the most important risks to consider relate to data security and responsible e-waste disposal. While there are many other potential risks that a risk management professional may wish to consider with regards to ITAD, these two must always be given priority.

For the former, organisations must endeavour to thoroughly and securely destroy all sensitive data on EoL IT assets. Services such as Hard Drive Disposal, whether through physically destroying the hard drive by shredding or punching, must render all data completely irretrievable to eliminate the risk of unauthorised access.

For the latter risk of e-waste disposal, organisations should choose an ITAD partner that is committed to environmentally friendly hard drive disposal. Rapid IT has adopted both a zero-landfill policy as well as a Circular Economy model for this reason. Our environmental policies make us an ideal choice for responsible data disposal.

Choose Rapid IT and Manage Risks with an ITAD Strategy

Choose Rapid IT as your reputable global ITAD partner to help manage organisational risk and to integrate with your risk management strategy. Get in touch with us today.