Upgrading to new technologies and infrastructures is an exciting and often necessary aspect of the transformation process for firms undergoing IT modernisation. It’s out with the e-waste and in with the shiny, new gear whenever a business receives a capital infusion for new devices, begins migrating to the cloud, or switches software or platforms.
Australians are among the most technologically savvy, and e-waste is one of the fastest-growing trash streams. According to the Global E-waste Monitor 2020, a record 53.6 million metric tonnes of e-waste was generated globally in 2019.
Due to rising energy and electronic consumption rates, shorter lifecycles, and restricted repair choices, the report projects that this will reach 74 million metric tonnes by 2030, nearly double the amount of 2014. Businesses are being pushed to recycle more or dispose of e-waste appropriately in order to combat this.
However, many businesses are confused how to go about doing so, and too much e-waste is still ending up in landfills. In fact, in Australia, less than 1% of televisions and roughly 10% of computers and laptops are recycled.
So what can your business do?
IT Asset Management
Why is e-waste management so critical for businesses today? There are three factors to consider:
- Your IT department lacks the necessary tools to complete the task properly.
- E-waste management practises that are ineffective increase the danger of a data breach.
- Government, defence, and intelligence organisations will refuse to engage with corporations who do not destroy their data in a secure manner.
- Observance of regulations
IT departments lack the necessary tools to effectively manage waste. Wiping a drive or device is their go-to method. While wiping can get rid of a lot of data, it won’t get rid of everything.
According to a Blancco Technology Group report, 11 percent of 200 discarded hard drives still had corporate data on them. That implies you’re vulnerable to a cyber attack if you still have data — any data.
Preventing electronics from becoming rubbish in the first place is the greatest approach to avoid having to deal with e-waste. This approach to e-waste management begins with the purchasing process.
Risks of Incorrect E-waste Management
Whether you decide to sell or give your firm’s used devices, make sure your IT department fully wipes any electronic equipment of company data before offloading it.
By not engaging in proper e-waste management you’re stating you’re unwilling to do business with businesses in highly regulated areas like government, defence, and intelligence. These businesses are bound by rigors laws on who they can do business with and under what conditions they can do business. That implies they require assurance that IT assets will not be disposed of in a way that compromises sensitive data. Governments, defence, and intelligence agencies all require a certificate from your e-waste management vendor to verify that all data has been wiped completely.
Even if you don’t do business with governments or defence and intelligence agencies, you may be in an industry where information management and destruction are regulated. If you don’t properly dispose of e-waste, you could face steep penalties. Furthermore, your reputation will be harmed as a result of your failure to follow the rules; or you may face the wrath that are data breaches.
According to a 2018 study, ignorance is responsible for a quarter of all data breaches. Data breaches are costly for businesses; each stolen record costs $150. Companies may incur regulatory penalties (at the municipal, state, and federal levels) as well as reputational damage. No one wants to do business with a firm that doesn’t take security seriously.
Data is lot more sophisticated today, and we are dealing with thousands of times the amount of data we were dealing with a few years ago. You are in control of hundreds, if not millions, of dollars every time you type a keystroke, add a name, social security number, credit card or bank account number.
Personal records are just as much of a security risk as financial data, thus data security goes beyond numbers. Thousands of different sorts of data, such as hospital records, doctor’s office visits, pharmacy information, and insurance files, must be kept safe.
In the wrong hands, digital cameras, printers, copiers, cell phones, tablets, and even a simple thumb drive can all hold data that is potentially hazardous. A simple chip in your camera that retains photographs is a “Storage” device that contains potentially harmful information. Once again, simply removing the data is insufficient.
Disposing of equipment is not a viable option because erased files can be recovered unless the data is professionally deleted from the device or destroyed. It is not enough to just dispose of obsolete PCs, hard drives, and external storage devices. Because used electronics contain chemicals that can be detrimental to the environment and potentially infiltrate the water system, most localities do not allow their disposal.
For these reasons, the only environmentally safe way to dispose of electronic equipment is through a professional disposal service.
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Benton, M., 2019. Disposing of E-waste Securely and Responsibly. [online] Blog.systemsengineering.com. Available at: <https://blog.systemsengineering.com/blog/dispose-ewaste-securely-and-responsibly>.
Great Lakes Electronics. n.d. Consumers Need to be Protected from E-waste Data Security Concerns. [online] Available at: <https://www.ewaste1.com/data-security-and-e-waste-a-growing-problem-thats-only-getting-worse/>.
Great Lakes Electronics. n.d. National Security and E-waste | Blog | Great Lakes Electronics. [online] Available at: <https://www.ewaste1.com/national-security-and-e-waste/>.
Hardware Data Destruction. n.d. What Does A Certified Data Destruction Service Include?. [online] Available at: <https://hardwaredatadestruction.doodlekit.com/blog/entry/5286949/what-does-a-certified-data-destruction-service-include>.
ITC Asset Management. n.d. Secure IT eWaste Disposal & Recycling | e Waste Recycling Sydney. [online] Available at: <https://www.itcassetmanagement.com.au/itc-recycling/>.
Leahy, M., 2020. Electronic Recycling: How to Recycle Your Business’s E-Waste. [online] Rubicon: Software Platform Offering Smart Waste and Recycling Solutions. Available at: <https://www.rubicon.com/blog/electronic-waste-problem/>.
Secure E-Cycle. n.d. Proper Disposal of Data Bearing Devices | Secure e-cycle. [online] Available at: <https://secureecycle.com/proper-disposal-of-data/>.
Secure E-Cycle. n.d. Protect Your Business with an IT Policy | Secure E-Cycle. [online] Available at: <https://secureecycle.com/protect-your-business-with-an-it-policy/>.
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What We Do
We recycle computers, laptops, phones, printers, and other e-waste in the Brisbane area. Profits made go to the community or to a local charity of your choice. To find out more visit our homepage here.