Update ITAD Data Security Strategies to Improve Social Outcome
ITAD data destruction and sustainability is a point of policy confluence where taking a broader view of secondary impacts, can deliver positive results in all aspects of the triple bottom line. By focusing on methods that maintain functionality, policies around data destruction can enable broader social, financial, and environmental benefits.
I have written before about the benefits of systematic data destruction and the more robust verification and documentation measures it enables. But, Redemtech’s participation in the Federal Communications Commission’s newly launched Connect2Compete initiative has got me thinking about data destruction from a sustainability and social responsibility perspective.
In my nearly ten years of talking to customers about the most effective ways to reduce their ITAD data security exposure, I have from time to time come across those that look to destroy data exclusively through physical destruction. The foundation of this approach is an enticing risk mitigation mirage; that if I destroy it, then I completely eliminate any potential breach of protected information. This falsely assumes that no data destruction measures that preserve functionality are sufficient.
What is rarely part of the deliberations leading to such policies are the negative environmental, social, and financial impacts they create. From an environmental perspective, the issue is obvious. Physical destruction means higher levels of e-waste generation. However, even more insidious is how destruction takes away any potential for re-use. It is through persevering functionality, and enabling the extension of the useful life, where we see the greatest potential for social and financial benefit.
The manufacturing avoidance associated with re-use pacts a big punch when it comes to environmental impact. Raw materials usage, water usage, energy consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions are all positively impacted.
But, where re-use can create some even more spectacular returns is on the social front. When lifecycles are extended through technology donations, the societal benefits can be nothing short of remarkable. I have seen personally, through Redemtech’s program with Habitat for Humanity, how bringing technology to underserved communities can be the lever many need to gain traction on their future.
So, what is the best path for your organization? As with most things, success is in finding the right balance and developing policies that mitigate risk properly, but not at the expense of our larger societal goals.
Most poorly fitting policies can traced back to poorly informed policy makers. Take those whose policies simply prevent technology donation. Many is the time I have sat across from an IT Asset Manager who fully appreciates the positive impacts donating just one-hundred computers can have; but their hands are tied by a policy that allows their computers to be resold, but not donated. In every one of these instances, it’s not new policy they’re lamenting, but a policy that simply hasn’t been updated.
By engaging risk managers and policy makers with subject matter experts that can help them truly evaluate and quantify ITAD data destruction risks; organizations can evolve their lifecycle practices to benefit their communities as much as their bottom lines.
Does your company have policies that prevent keep you from extending a helping hand? If so, maybe it’s time to update them.