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Posted Jan 9th, 2013

Pretend you’re giving a talk to an audience of your peers about end-of-life IT asset management.

Recently we hired an independent market research firm to do one-on-one interviews with several of our clients.  The interviews were part of an ongoing effort to stay in tune with market trends and our customers’ challenges so we can deliver new features and services to make their jobs easier.

The interviews were conducted with a range of IT and IT security executives and managers, including some directly responsible for IT asset management and others supervising that function.  Much of the feedback we received was useful, but there was one area in particular that was interesting–and somewhat surprising.  The question was,

“Let’s say you were asked to give a presentation to a group of your peers on securing the ‘end of life’ of the IT lifecycle.  As you prepare your slides, what level of knowledge would you assume your audience has on this topic?  Somewhat informed?  Very educated?  Totally uninformed?”

The interviewees gave responses that were very similar along these lines…remember, the interviews were one-on-one, so the respondents couldn’t influence each other with their answers:

  • There is a general understanding (one called it a “passive” understanding, another said a “token awareness”) that IT assets can’t just be thrown out, HOWEVER…
  • Overall there is a very inconsistent, often poor understanding of what the proper options and processes are, especially regarding security issues.
  • When it comes to the details of how retired (obsolete or unused) IT assets must be handled, there is an even lower level of understanding and education.
  • One respondent described their peers’ understanding of end of life IT asset management as “remedial.”  Another said that, unless they work for the CIA, not many IT professionals can tell you that drives have to be shredded.
  • There is still a widespread believe that freeware erasing or multi-pass wiping tools are sufficient.
  • Two respondents even mentioned their first-hand experience of being asked, “why can’t we just reformat the disks or drill holes in the platter?” to save money.
(This last point was validated by our recent post on how people answered a LinkedIn question on how to dispose of Solid State Drives (SSDs), which you can read here: The “Animal House Treatment” and other ineffective ways to securely dispose of SSDs.)
Of course, this is not a quantitative survey, so we cannot say it is representative of the entire market.  But obviously Securis still has quite a ways to go to educate organizations regarding the need for proper end of life IT asset handling and best practices for data destruction and recycling.

 

To download the complete Securis IT Asset Disposal Checklist, click here.

Questions about secure recycling and destruction of “end of life” IT assets?  Call us at 800-731-1909 or email us at [email protected]

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