3 Reasons You Should Care About Offline IT Asset Management

By Michael
November 2, 2015

Electronic waste is not usually one of the hot talking points across the IT industry. However, hard drives and other decommissioned storage devices can prove a major security vulnerability if destruction best practices are not followed. Dealing with offline IT assets through appropriate means is critical if you hope to protect your data assets and avoid regulatory breaches. However, many organizations fail to put the necessary resources into offline IT asset management and end up facing fines, reputation damages and workflow disruptions that lead to operational inefficiencies. All told, organizations that find a way to manage offline IT assets efficiently position themselves to minimize risk and maximize employee efficiency.

These broad gains are invaluable, but three specific reasons you should care about offline IT asset management include:

1. Documenting destruction processes
Data loss prevention doesn’t stop once a system’s use life concludes. Hard disk drives must be properly destroyed before they can be considered fully decommissioned, and you need to protect disks through every phase of the disposal process. Even if you are outsourcing actual asset destruction, you need to make sure hard disks are properly monitored from decommissioning through to shipment to third parties and verification that they have been destroyed.

Offline IT asset management solutions like AssetAware give you the tools you need to optimize workflows around hard disk destruction to make sure you can track drives throughout the entire process. Solutions can even integrate barcode scanning functions, making it easier to track hard drives and document their location.

2. Preventing data loss
Information can be recovered from hard disks to a surprising degree. A disk that is electronically erased or partially destroyed can still contain recoverable data. As such, you can’t have piecemeal strategies for disk disposal and expect your data to be preserved. Furthermore, targeting physical assets is one way hackers and other data thieves can work around complex anti-malware and logical protection methods to get to your data. All it takes is convincing one disgruntled employee to bring a decommissioned hard drive home from work and you’re left with a data loss incident. Even partially destroyed disks that are stolen can be left with recoverable data.

Hard disks must be monitored until they are properly destroyed or you risk facing potential data loss events. A offline IT asset management solution like AssetAware help you standardize workflows and track hard disks to ensure nothing is misplaced.

3. Regulatory reporting
Regulatory bodies mandate that organizations protect data throughout its life cycle, and you must go beyond preventing data loss and also prove that you are following industry best practices. You must document the location and status of offline IT assets throughout the disposal process – regardless of whether they are in storage, in the hands of a third-party disposal specialist or being shipped to another location.

Documentation is necessary, but it can also leach resources away from your organization. Having your staff spending their time on menial tasks is a waste of money – they could be spending their time on more meaningful processes that deliver value to your business. Offline IT asset management solutions automate many of the documentation tasks that come with disposing of old hard disks and similar hardware. Workflow management and automation tools ensure that your disposal processes are properly documented, protecting your organization from a regulatory breach.

Decommissioned IT systems present organizations with a considerable waste management challenge. Failing to adequately monitor and destroy hardware containing sensitive data can lead to major fiscal and regulatory challenges for businesses. Alternately, putting resources into offline IT asset management plans can simplify asset disposal and eliminate risk.

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