Here’s a message from customers that nearly every company is taking to heart. “Keep my data off your e-waste!”
During my years of covering enterprise IT, regulatory compliance (think HIPAA, Sarbanes Oxley and PCI DSS) and its effect on IT shops emerged as a very big topic, not to mention a big opportunity for security vendors. Essentially, businesses had to take a good hard look at their security practices, not only to prevent hackers from mining customer databases, but also preventing dumpster divers from plucking sensitive information from the hard drives of discarded PCs and servers.
But where do eco-friendly business practices fit in? It turns out that closing up one of the avenues to data theft, namely e-waste, also gave rise to the responsible IT asset disposal business. According to Environmental Leader, the “2010 Converge ITAD Trends Report” reveals that 84 percent percent of the mid-sized to large companies polled “have controls in place to properly handle end-of-life IT assets,” a 17 percent jump from the previous year. Of course, companies are primarily doing it so that they don’t land in hot water with the government and the regulatory bodies that oversee their industries. (Staying out of court is a good motivator too.) But this is a good example of how different corporate priorities can sometimes overlap to good effect, even if the motivations aren’t the same.
This echoes some of the themes that came up when I spoke with Jeff Zeigler, the founder and CEO of TechTurn a couple of years ago. At the time, the Austin, Texas-based IT recycler was handling a million assets a year, ranging from desktop PCs to enterprise-class storage arrays and everything in between. One of the services TechTurn offers is secure, certified data wiping. It’s a capability that has helped clients, including banks, turn to TechTurn (pun shamelessly intended) for their environmentally responsible IT disposal and data safeguarding needs.
So, before you contract with an IT disposal firm, make sure they not only recycle your old gear in an environmentally responsible manner, but that they also offer services that ensure that your discarded data stays dead.
Photo credit: Flickr user A Hermida