What is Hardware End-of-Life Management?

Hardware end-of-life management (HELM) and IT asset disposition (ITAD) are not difficult concepts to grasp.

So why does it seem like everyone wants to make them seem so complicated? CXtec is here to make it easy for you.

Understanding the Concept of Hardware End-of-Life Management (HELM)

ITAD - IT Asset Disposition Services

HELM is just a fancy term to describe the practice of responsibly disposing of your unneeded IT assets in a manner that protects sensitive data, delivers maximum value to you, and is safe for the environment.

This may seem like a very simple concept – and at its heart it really is. But there are a few things to understand about the practice to ensure you do it right.

And doing it right means your sensitive data remains secure and you get more money in your pocket.

With proper HELM practices, you get:

  • Full IT decommission services
  • 100% data eradication and destruction
  • Fair market value (FMV) valuation of your assets
  • Consulting services: whether to redeploy, resell, recycle, or donate
  • Certificates for proof of data eradication or R2-compliant recycling
  • Customized reporting for compliance requirements

It’s important to know what to look for - we want to help!

The difference between HELM and ITAD

Many terms get thrown around to describe the practices for retiring IT assets. At CXtec, we refer to our offering as hardware end-of-life management, or HELM for short.

When researching, often times you'll see it called IT asset disposition, or ITAD for short. There is an important distinction between these terms.

HELM is meant to describe a set of strategies that ensure all your needs are met when retiring IT assets. We define HELM as:

A set of high-end, sophisticated services for corporate entities seeking to decommission their retired IT assets – providing strategies to exit technologies, logistical processing of materials, secure data cleansing/destruction, R2-certified procedures, and audited reporting every step of the way.

On the other hand, ITAD is a term that has come to represent just the disposing of IT assets. TechTarget defines ITAD as:

"...the business built around disposing of obsolete or unwanted equipment in a safe and ecologically-responsible manner."

We see ITAD as a piece of a larger set of strategies that ensure you're handling the retirement of used IT assets in the best way possible. You shouldn't just be thinking of how to dispose of equipment - but rather how can you ensure you're handling this important step in your IT life cycle correctly.

When done correctly, HELM allows you to:

  • Maximize your ROI on the technology you already own
  • Safeguard any proprietary data stored on your technology
  • Engage a knowledgeable partner to help you decommission your hardware
  • Use environmentally responsible tactics to avoid any potential litigation

Retiring your IT assets can be a simple, efficient process once you know what to look for in a partner.

Here are a few concepts to consider to help you understand HELM better:

What is decommissioning?

No new technology project can take place – whether it’s a cloud migration or a simple refresh – without a plan to de-install hardware already in place.

This decommission step seems simple, but anyone who has done it can tell you that it can get messy without proper planning and a strategy. And that’s where an experienced HELM partner like CXtec partner can help you.

Why partner with an expert to decommission your technology hardware?

The question to ask yourself is this:

Why pay your in-house team a premium price just to de-install hardware when they could be working on strategic initiatives for your organization?

It makes much more sense to bring in an expert organization to handle all the logistics of decommissioning your hardware. When you work with a reputable organization, you get a partner that helps you from start to finish:

  • Process design and planning and project management throughout
  • Infrastructure audit services – even down to component level
  • On-/Off-site data eradication or destruction
  • Reverse logistics cost analysis
  • Secure/Trackable chain-of-custody
  • Full reporting and compliance considerations
  • Certified engineers to guide the process

CXtec has the experience and expertise to help you decommission your quickly and efficiently.

How do you protect data security?

Data breaches can happen a number of ways.

Many organizations spend time, resources, and capital to protect data in their live networks – but neglect data security measures on their retired hardware.

The data on the hardware you’re replacing still poses a security threat. It must be thoroughly cleaned before that hardware reaches the next step on its journey – wherever that might be.

A reputable data security partner will provide:

  • On-/Off-Site data erasure
  • On-/Off-Site hard drive destruction, including:
    • Degauss
    • Shredding
    • R2-compliant recycling
  • Services that meet Department of Defense (DoD) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST compliance) specifications
  • R2:2013 certification to ensure services you can trust
  • Expertise across all platforms and OEMs
  • Secure/Trackable chain of custody to prove ownership changes

These services ensure your proprietary data is secure, and that your hardware doesn’t end up in a landfill.

The repercussions from improper data security practices could be disastrous for your organization.

The dangers of improper HELM

The legal repercussions, the threat to your brand reputation, and the financial impact of a security breach are too big to ignore.

We’ve all read the headlines – and they seem to happen more and more frequently these days.

If headlines like these don’t strike fear in your heart, what will?

It’s pretty obvious how much can go wrong if you use improper HELM services. You risk a data breach, exposing sensitive company, client, or patient info. This can incur fines, penalties, and legal ramifications. Not to mention the damage to your organization’s reputation.

Your data could be stolen, leading to compromises in your organization’s security. Or the hardware you owned could end up in a landfill, creating legal headaches and a windfall of bad press for being environmentally insensitive.

Finding a HELM partner who can handle your needs, at scale, anywhere you are in the world is critical. You require someone who can handle any project, at any scale, worldwide.

They must provide data wiping and data destruction services to ensure your sensitive info is protected. And they need to provide maximum value for your assets. Proper HELM practices are no longer a luxury, they’re a necessity.

When done correctly, your data integrity is safe, your budget gets the much-needed boost it needs, and you get peace of mind.

How to recover value from used IT assets

When you partner with a reputable HELM service provider, you recover maximum value for your used IT assets. But not just any vendor has the means to deliver that value.

Look for a partner that delivers:

  • Full infrastructure portfolio fair market value (FMV) analysis
  • Component level valuation and reporting
  • FMV vs. trade-in or lease buyout
  • Total cost of ownership (TCO) analysis, featuring cloud vs. on-prem, lease vs. buy recommendations
  • Future depreciation analysis
  • Accuracy across all major OEMs
  • Dedicated OEM product specialists

Your partner should be able to analyze your portfolio down to the component level, providing FMV figures and recommendations on your best courses of action for each unit.

And their expertise should extend to all OEM technology in your portfolio, with dedicated, knowledgeable specialists to advise you on the best ways to maximize your value.

How are HELM and recycling related?

Recycling is an integral piece of your hardware end-of-life management strategy. Recycling is actually one form of strategy within the spectrum of HELM services.

For equipment that no longer has re-marketable value, a reputable HELM partner can provide a highly compliant recycling solution through downstream partners that are either eSteward or R2-certified.

Look for a HELM partner who is R2-certified and handles your technology the right way. A reputable partner will advise you on how best to gain value on your equipment, and what units are best to recycle in an environmentally responsible fashion.

You can't afford to have your hardware end up illegally disposed of in a landfill. There are laws against it, and the financial repercussions and blow to your reputation are hardly worth taking chances.

Find a knowledgeable HELM partner like CXtec to ensure the recycling of your hardware is performed the responsible way.