Seller Beware

The secondary market is unusual in the fact that the seller has more to lose than the buyer. Whatever the value of the IT hardware, risking the data it contains is potentially much more costly. Balancing priorities is a concern for IT asset managers everywhere.

Environmental costs and security concerns

With e-waste being the fastest growing waste stream on the planet, there is more and more awareness about the environmental consequences of needlessly throwing things away. Techbuyer has written extensively about this in previous blogs, outlining the scale of the problem and also what certain pieces of hardware cost the planet to produce. However, the financial and reputational risks of data falling into the wrong hands are not something any organization can ignore. Now, more than ever, it is vital to pick a reliably secure and environmentally sustainable solution for redundant IT hardware.

Despite the advent of GDPR in Europe and similar data privacy legislation in parts of the US, a 2017 study carried out by NAID (the National Asset Information Destruction organisation that Techbuyer is a member of) found personal information including credit card data and tax records on 44% of 250 hard drives purchased in the secondary market.

Two years on, the situation appears to have improved at least for company hardware. In 2019, data sanitisation software company Blancco bought 159 drives from professional sellers in the US, UK, Germany and Finland and found 42% still contained data. However, only 15% of this was personally identifying information (PII) and/or corporate data. Whilst this may be evidence that we are moving in the right direction, it also highlights the importance of choosing the right solution when it comes to disposing of redundant hardware.

What customers should look for

The first step towards peace of mind is selecting an IT Asset Disposition service that offers certified data erasure on all data bearing devices. At present the only certified option for magnetic drives is a software solution, of the kind that WhiteCanyon offer. This erases 100% of data and provides full certification, ensuring businesses are confident that their data bearing devices are protected.

Just as vital is a secure chain of custody from the customer’s facility to a dedicated, protected facility that has been audited and declared fit for purpose. Customers need to look for the additional wrap around security that covers all aspects of the equipment’s journey. This includes security vetted personnel, tracked and monitored vehicles and properly maintained asset registers.

The ADISA program is rapidly being recognized as the gold standard in this regard. Techbuyer ITAD is proud to be certified by ADISA for this. Many companies are building it into contracts as a pre-requisite for IT Asset Disposition Services.

Finally, a company that takes its environmental responsibilities seriously is becoming increasingly important as time goes on. For Techbuyer, certification for ISO 14001 (Environmental Responsibility), ISO 9001 (Quality) and ISO 27001 (Data Security) has been a big part of this. So too has our zero to landfill commitment and promise to reuse assets wherever possible rather than seeing the assets destroyed during the recycling process.

Giving materials an extended, useful life is at the core of what we do at Techbuyer. Data, on the other hand, needs to be destroyed.

Techbuyer's IT Asset Disposition service provides an environmentally responsible solution for your redundant data center equipment. Your data security is our top priority, and we handle all confidential data as though it were our own. Looking to sell your unwanted IT hardware or find out more? Get in touch with our dedicated team.