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What Does Reverse Logistics Have to Do with ITAD (IT Asset Disposition)?

Last modified: July 13, 2015

No business can escape the pull of IT systems and use of technology in the workplace. Furthermore, the average speed of computers and amount of data storage capabilities doubles every year. This leads to one ultimate result: existing computer systems and pieces of technology are obsolescent nearly from the time of purchase. Therefore, you will face the prospect of regaining part of your investment when you attempt to return merchandise to the seller, or OEM, when you purchase new items and overhaul your existing equipment. Additionally, you will face stringent environmental and legal restrictions for the disposal of such systems, otherwise known as IT Asset Disposition/ Disposal (ITAD). To ensure your business does not lose money, from either a post disposal data breach or lost items in the return merchandise circle, you need to understand a few things about ITAD and reverse logistics.

Risks Involved in ITAD

ITAD

ITAD Process

ITAD includes both environmental and legal risks. Depending on federal, state, and local regulations, you may not dispose of certain pieces of IT equipment in traditional landfills, and much of your existing systems must enter a recycling phase. Furthermore, your hard drives and other IT equipment may contain personal, confidential information about your consumers. This information may be of a financial, healthcare, or other private nature. Your organization could face stiff penalties for failing to comply with such regulatory agencies.

A reverse logistics provider can ensure your ITAD solutions do not violate any of the applicable laws. Reverse logistics providers, such as Flash Global, usually have certifications to ensure their compliance with these standards. Some of the most common certifications include:

  • ISO 9001:2008
  • EDI Compliant
  • NAID Compliant
  • NIST 800-88
  • Microsoft Registered Refurbisher
  • ISO 14001
  • OSHAS 18001/ISO 18001
  • R2
  • E-Stewards

Tracking of Merchandise

Reverse logistics focuses on ensuring optimum, efficient tracking of equipment throughout the ITAD process. When a company attempts ITAD in-house, they risk losing money on missing equipment, human errors in serial number recordings, and additional problems if a data breach occurs at a point later in time. Fortunately, reverse logistics providers can take care of all the tracking needs for you. This virtually eliminates your responsibility in the process, and it ensures your employees can continue in their actual job duties, which saves your business money.

Throughout the ITAD process, the equipment is put at a huge risk for becoming lost, stolen, or destroyed. This occurs as ITAD equipment rarely has any original, appropriately-sized packaging, and many of today’s computer systems are small enough to be taken out of shipping containers by hand, or hidden under baggy clothing. This is where a reverse logistics provider protects you. The employees of such a company are highly-trained to ensure the safety and security of your returned merchandise throughout the process. Revere logistics providers also have additional tools and resources to enable maximum efficiency and accuracy during the return process. For example, the provider may employ Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) systems to monitor the exact location of each piece of equipment throughout the process.

Erasure of Existing Data

Believe it or not, moving something to the Recycle Bin on a computer and clicking “Empty Recycle Bin” does not actually delete a file from a computer. The computer keeps the information until it is overwritten at a later date with a new file, program, or protocol. This means your company could be putting a seemingly empty computer into the hands of data thieves and encouraging a data breach. A reverse logistics provider will work to ensure data is completely wiped from the equipment. This is a lengthy process, and your current employees do not have the time to actually perform this task on their own.

Reduction of Liability For Data Breach in ITAD Process

On average, a typical data breach costs a company $3.5 million. However, tomorrow’s data breach could be exponentially higher as more people become involved in the digital world. Reverse logistics providers should have a Liability Insurance Policy to protect your company from the endless lawsuits and backlash if a data breach does occur. Each data breach shakes the public’s confidence in company responsibilities, and subsequent data breaches could ruin your company’s foundation and result in bankruptcy. You cannot afford to take this risk, so you need an ITAD partner with this type of insurance. By selecting a reputable reverse logistics provider to handle your ITAD needs, you can afford your customers the greatest protections of their information.

ITAD Recycling Processes Benefit Everyone

Besides data breaches, the opportunity for recycling materials from ITAD-processed equipment is one of the greatest reasons to use a reverse logistics provider. The Earth contains a limited supply of resources, and each tossed piece of equipment represents another item taken from the planet’s resources. Essentially, the use of a reverse logistics providers ensures your company adheres to the growing eco-conscious moral compass of society. This will encourage growth of your business in the future and ensure you do not incur any fines for improper disposal of equipment. In fact, your business may even receive tax benefits for engaging in recycling methods through reverse logistics providers.

If your business has not yet experienced the trials and tribulations of IT Asset Disposition, consider this post your warning. A time will come when you will need to refresh your IT department, and you will be faced the choice between in-house solutions or reverse logistics to deal with ITAD needs. Remember this analogy: You cannot write with ink in your pen; you cannot perform safe ITAD processes without a reverse logistics provider. If you need help with proper ITAD, contact Flash Global today.

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