A third of SMBs dispose of old hardware in landfill


As growing businesses rush to upgrade their hardware, many are simply throwing old computers, routers, and other IT assets into the trash, leading to security and environmental concerns.

A new study from Capterra of 500 IT professionals at US small and midsize businesses (SMBs) reveals that nearly a third (29 percent) indulge in improper IT hardware disposal practices.

SMBs are holding onto their aging IT hardware for an average of 2.7 years. The majority are disposing of IT assets appropriately through recycling (80 percent), redeployment (65 percent), reselling (62 percent), or donating to charity (54 percent). However, 29 percent of SMBs are simply throwing old hardware away. This can be put down to a rush to procure new technology as they scale their workforce, avoid obsolescence, and keep up with the competition.

Of course there are environmental impacts surrounding getting rid of It assets, but irresponsible disposal of IT assets is also a serious security and legal issue. In fact it’s illegal in some states to throw away certain types of IT equipment, and there are privacy laws (e.g., GDPR) and industry regulations (e.g., HIPAA, GLBA, and PCI-DSS) that require specific handling of sensitive data when decommissioning IT hardware.

"For quickly growing businesses, it’s easy to imagine a scenario where used IT assets begin to build up and, amid competing priorities, a decision is made to take the easy way out," says Zach Capers, senior security analyst at Capterra. "However, there are serious environmental, legal, and regulatory implications of improper IT asset disposal, and businesses should therefore prioritize responsible disposition processes."

SMBs that improperly dispose of hardware are significantly less likely to have reused older devices (54 percent) than responsible disposers (69 percent). Maintaining a chain of custody, often required by industry regulations, is also more challenging for irresponsible disposers. Indeed 62 percent of those inappropriately disposing of assets cite lack of organization as a problem.

The full report is available from the Capterra site.

Image credit: Paul_Cowan/depositphotos.com

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