Buying, Selling, or Discarding Computers? What You Need to Know

By Castaway Tech | August 8, 2022

Gone are the days of disposing old used IT equipment in the trash or giving it away, and then buying brand-new equipment with all the latest bells and whistles. These days, disposal of equipment can be risky and expensive – even if you recycle and believe you are complying with the numerous disposal regulations. Many companies are focusing on how they can lower IT asset costs while maintaining equipment performance. Better ROI for their equipment may be found in refurbishing their existing equipment or buying refurbished used equipment. But even these options have risks.

In this article, Castaway Technologies provides useful information to protect your organization whether you are disposing, refurbishing, buying, or selling used IT equipment.

Understanding the Risks

Every organization today uses all kinds of electronic equipment, from laptops to servers, printers to copiers and tablets to smart phones. Equipment changes, such as with employee turnover or reaching End of Life (EOL) can overwhelm a limited IT staff tasked with tracking all the equipment, buying new gear, and getting rid of the electronics that are no longer needed. The process of managing all this   equipment opens the door to significant risk to your organization:

  • Regulatory compliance – Failing to comply with the complex IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) regulations can be difficult and can have an enormous impact on your business – not only on whether or not your employees get the resources they need, but whether or not you jeopardize the organization’s reputation, legal position, and bottom line.
  • Unprotected Proprietary Information – Used equipment not only contains user data and applications but also embedded proprietary IT configuration settings. If the equipment is improperly wiped, this information will remain accessible by whoever comes in possession of it.

With the supply chain issues impacting everybody since COVID, refurbished used equipment is trending. Many companies are considering buying refurbished used equipment, refurbishing their existing equipment, or consigning their equipment to vendors they trust to refurbish them for resale. This can be cost-effective for both the buyer and seller. However, no matter which side of the transaction you are on, you need to ensure that the used equipment is certified to be completely refurbished with all previous data removed.

Used IT assets that are properly refurbished can provide the new owner with performance that is equal if not better than new equipment. Often the equipment can be customized for the buyer’s specifications.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be an expert in ITAD processes or buying and selling refurbished equipment, but you can certainly benefit from the knowledge and recommendations of an expert.

When Dispossessing Your Equipment

Managing IT equipment requires understanding the compliance regulations and implementing the processes for properly monitoring and documenting asset management over its lifecycle. This information is required by compliance auditors. Since this is complex and should be baked into your IT operations, the best practice is to work with an ITAD expert who can advise and assist you on an ongoing basis.

Did You Know?

Before disposing your equipment, you need to remove all user and company configuration information. This entails more than simply removing user files and applications. You must confirm or finalize that the equipment is successfully removed from the owner’s management systems. For example, any BIOS locks or tracking systems must be disabled before the equipment is released to vendors or customers.

Ensuring that this process is actually performed requires “due diligence” and documentation. Unfortunately, a lot of companies either don’t care or don’t realize how important this process is to their security. Without it, they are exposed to multiple risks.

Castaway’s enterprise account manager noted, “Skipping this step leaves all equipment registered in your system even after it leaves your business’ possession and could cause some real headaches down the road! Especially when it comes time for an audit or even a business review on what IT equipment the company currently has on the books.”

For example, if the equipment is still registered to your business, whenever it is connected to the internet it will ping your servers, letting the possessing company know it was connected and also displaying your business name and its status in your system. This is displayed even after data destruction – so even though the sensitive data may be wiped from the device there are still company identifiers on the equipment.

If you need help eliminating any connection between your equipment and the management systems, it will help immeasurably to provide your trustworthy ITAD advisor with full access to those systems. We understand why most companies don’t want to provide management system access to any third party. However, if you can trust your ITAD partner to do only what’s needed, they can quickly and thoroughly close the loop on the lifecycle of the equipment. This saves your staff a lot of time in back & forth communication and optimizes any remaining hardware value.

For example, Castaway’s CastTRAC service specifically provides a closed-loop, chain-of-custody process for the destruction or refurbishment of data-bearing assets.

Buying & Selling Used Equipment

If you want to buy or sell used equipment, work with an established and reputable vendor that can provide quality-certified used equipment backed by a warranty, as well as handle all the associated e-Waste recycling services. Castaway has created a partner network which offers two resources you may want to look into for your needs.

TechWORX Remote Solutions provides a rapid IT hardware purchasing system that assists high-turnover remote work settings, or any situation involving remote or satellite teams that need a procurement process, with quality-certified used equipment backed by a warranty. It even includes tier 1 technical support! In the event of resignations and terminations, TechWORX Remote includes the Cast-in-Box™ recovery service. The departing employee gets a special shipping box complete with a prepaid return label and simple instructions. The electronics are safely returned and securely reprocessed through a safe and simple process.

Spicket River Electronics. Spicket River Electronics provides of pre-owned computers, commercial grade electronics and office equipment. You can buy direct or visit one of their eBay stores.

For over 30 years, Castaway Technologies has been helping companies properly dispose of IT assets they no longer need. Over the years we’ve expanded with services to help clients buy used equipment for better ROI and performance.

For further information about ITAD and refurbishment services for managing assets, including disposing, selling, and buying refurbished equipment, contact us online or give us a call at (978) 208-4730.

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