Everything You Need To Know About IT Asset Disposition (ITAD)

May 9, 2024

Business operations demand regular replacements for IT assets, but ever-increasing concerns for environmental sustainability, compliance and data security make it difficult to get rid of old assets responsibly. IT asset disposition (ITAD) services address these demands. It allows organizations to offload old IT items without creating dangerous electronic waste (e-waste) or putting data at risk.

Let’s take a closer look at ITAD and why this element of the asset life cycle is so important.

What Is IT Asset Disposition?

IT asset disposition is a process for getting rid of unwanted IT equipment — such as computers, peripherals, cables and networking devices — securely and responsibly. During ITAD, companies aim to reuse, recycle, repair or repurpose the equipment before disposing of it.

E-waste is a massive problem worldwide, with about 53.6 million tons generated yearly — and 83% of it isn’t collected. Electronic components often contain hazardous, valuable or reusable materials, like iron, palladium, platinum, copper, lead and mercury. When they reach the waste stream, such as landfills, they can cause significant harm to ecosystems and human health. Businesses use numerous electronics, so they have an opportunity to make a difference in the e-waste problem. ITAD facilitates responsible disposal.

The other major component of ITAD is secure data destruction. As you can imagine, tossing a hard drive in a landfill is not a safe disposal method, especially if the data falls under regulation. Improper data destruction can increase the risk of a breach or violate data handling requirements.

While you can perform ITAD in-house, many businesses outsource it to a professional vendor who can offer niche expertise and reduce internal workloads.

IT Asset Disposition Services

While “responsible disposal” may sound straightforward, the process includes many steps, and unwanted electronics can contain a huge variety of components and requirements. Managing these complexities calls for ITAD services such as:

Securing and Erasing Data

ITAD providers ensure proper data erasure with industry best practices. Despite the clear importance of this task, one study found that most hard drives purchased on the used market were incorrectly sanitized. Some may not understand the importance, but others lack the resources, which is where a comprehensive ITAD program can help. ITAD can use various methods for data destruction, such as deleting, reformatting, wiping, degaussing or physical destruction.

Recycling, Reusing, Repurposing or Repairing

Before sending anything to a landfill, IT asset disposition services aim to extend the life of the item itself or its components through methods like:

  • Recycling: Recycling breaks the equipment down into its raw materials to use for new manufacturing.
  • Reusing or repurposing: These terms often refer to selling or donating an item or using it in a new way. For instance, a graphic designer might need a computer upgrade to support new technology, but the old equipment could be perfectly capable of supporting administrative tasks in HR.
  • Repairing: ITAD professionals can extend the life of many assets through repairs or refurbishments.

If these options are not valid, you may need to destroy an asset. Destruction must still occur securely and in an environmentally friendly manner. For example, an ITAD provider may need to remove some hazardous materials from the item before disposing of it. Physically shredding hard drives is a common method for destruction.

Managing Assets

ITAD should incorporate larger asset management programs an organization uses. The ITAD team monitors the life cycle of assets to maximize value. It might watch for items approaching the ends of their life cycles to identify when it’s time for a replacement. Another example is tracking conditions and repairs to understand the value of an asset on the used market.


An ITAD program can track an asset’s ownership and movement from acquisition to disposal. Many businesses need thorough documentation, including certificates of destruction (CODs), to ensure compliance, but it also supports internal efforts for accountability and security. You gain a full understanding of who is responsible for each asset and any applicable regulations.

Decommissioning Data Centers

Data center decommissioning is a complex process involving many of the previously mentioned tasks. ITAD professionals can safely remove hardware from a data center and securely reroute it to new devices. They carefully plan the decommissioning timeline and work carefully to minimize interruptions and ensure complete documentation.

Why Should I Perform IT Asset Disposition?

While the environmental benefits are significant, the business case for ITAD is also strong. Some reasons to do IT asset disposition include:

  • Compliance risk reduction: This process can drastically reduce the risk of non-compliance by preventing data security problems and improper disposal. Many states now regulate e-waste, and industries that work with sensitive data must often meet industry security regulations. For example, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) creates strict requirements for personal health information (PHI). If PHI were released through improper asset disposal, the company could face exorbitant fines, reputational damage and criminal charges.
  • Improved data security: Better data security can also help businesses reduce internal risk. By properly removing data from assets, you can avoid leaking sensitive business information.
  • Support for sustainability efforts: Most businesses now have sustainability plans, such as limiting waste or reducing a carbon footprint. ITAD can help meet these efforts through responsible asset disposal.
  • Better insights: Since ITAD usually includes monitoring assets, it can improve your data in areas like auditing and planning. For example, a clear picture of your assets can help you optimize allocation and plan for upcoming expenses or repair requirements. It can also help you find areas to maximize the value of your equipment, such as finding the most cost-effective option.

Although the benefits of ITAD are extensive, you’ll need a skilled team to bring them to light. When choosing an ITAD service provider, look for one with a long track record of success and compliance with major industry standards, like the NAID AAA® Certification from the National Association of Information Destruction. If you have a high-security organization, make sure your provider thoroughly understands any applicable standards.

Professional ITAD Services for Responsible, Secure Disposal

Today’s businesses depend on updated equipment, but getting rid of old assets is a time-consuming, challenging process that requires a specialized skill set. Get the best of both worlds by managing old equipment through a reliable ITAD service provider. At DataSpan, we have decades of experience as an industry leader in data services.

With cutting-edge technologies and practices, we can help you meet environmental and security requirements while optimizing inventory. Our comprehensive ITAD services include hard drive sanitization, data destruction, recycling, reporting and more, all performed by certified ITAD professionals. Reach out to an expert today to learn more about ITAD services from DataSpan.