Okay great question, but to understand R2 we must first understand the a little about the ITAD industry.
The IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) industry exists to manage the interests of the customer (the owner/user of the IT assets) and the risks surrounding end of use hardware asset decommissioning and disposal. In the vast majority of cases the customer has an incomplete understanding of what assets are to be disposed. Surprisingly, customers generally have a limited view on:
• quantity of what is being disposed
• how these assets reconcile with the fixed
• asset register
• the condition of the assets
• the financial value of the assets
• the data on the assets
• what happens to the data
• the environmental impact of their
• disposal choices
The bottom line is that the customer places an enormous amount of trust in the ITAD. The knowledge imbalance, and therefore the power imbalance, greatly benefits the ITAD service provider. But why are customers giving away so much power to an ITAD? Why is so much risk being left to an outsourced service provider to manage? And dammit why are so many ITAD owners driving around in expensive sports cars!?
To begin with let’s talk about policy settings around IT asset disposal. In the 22 years that Greenbox has been servicing the enterprise government and corporate sectors in Australia we have seen very little in the way of real policy around end of use IT hardware management. We’ve seen plenty of policy around hardware procurement and digital asset security but not a lot in the way of how assets should be managed at end of use.
This is pretty strange given that an estimated 16% of data breaches are from incorrect disposal processes. Oh and if you are unfortunate enough to have a breach you’re not likely to immediately know about it, or even find out about it at all.
Without adequate policy, junior decisions makers will make choices that may not align with an organisations data security or environment risk tolerances – exposing the organisation to the potential for data breaches and environmental liabilities, and even brand damage.
What motivates an ITAD?
In a word MONEY. And a lot of it. Okay so let’s explore this a little. Do you remember the above reference to the knowledge imbalance where customers don’t really know what they are disposing of? An ITAD is generally tasked with collecting the assets, reporting back to the customer on what they have received and then place a value on the assets. The ITAD is making all the decisions and the customers has little control over the financial outcome despite the fact that they own the assets.
Let’s also consider for a moment that data security processes come in all shapes and sizes. Some are robust with many checks and balances and some are very basic with little accountability. The more basic the process, the lower the cost of service but the higher the risk to the customer. So poor quality services means more profits to the ITAD.
Let’s also consider the environment. Quality recycling services with good environmental outcomes are more expensive than dumping or sub standard recycling so again an ITAD will make more profit if they opt for a low quality option.