Needham s growing population includes numerous small businesses and retailers, all relying on computers and mobile devices to power operations. As any company grows, it will outgrow its original equipment, which means it s time to upgrade. In some cases, businesses can recycle their old equipment for cash, using one of the many services available. If not, they ll still be searching for the best way to responsibly dispose of old PCs, monitors, smartphones, tablets, and peripherals without putting their data at risk.
One of the best ways to keep your Needham business safe is to shred hard drives on all of your devices before recycling them. Unfortunately, not all hard drive destruction processes are foolproof, since criminals are always looking for ways around the top services used today. National Computer Warehouse Services (NCWS) specializes in offloading old equipment safely and securely, leading many Needham businesses to rely on us for all of their equipment disposal needs.
First Step: Identify a Replacement Cycle
Opinions vary on the exact amount of time an electronic device can reasonably be used. Many business owners find that they can keep PCs for at least four years before replacing them. Monitors may last longer. Although cellular providers have encouraged customers to replace their smartphones every two years, they can actually last four years or longer with proper care.
The biggest problem with waiting until a device fails is that it often won t happen at a convenient time. An aging laptop could fail to boot up while an employee is on the road or in the middle of an important presentation. In the months leading up to total hard drive failure, a computer or mobile device will likely begin to display performance problems, hurting productivity and possibly even losing important information.
Second Step: Implementing a Replacement Cycle
Once your Needham business has determined the appropriate lifecycle for each equipment type, it s important to begin the process of determining a replacement cycle. Often this means carefully reviewing your annual budgets to see what amount you ll be able to allocate to replacing a certain amount of equipment each year. If you determine your PCs should be replaced every four years, the best course of action is to divide your current inventory into quarters, replacing one-fourth each year. You should also factor mobile devices into the annual cost for PC replacement. Monitors likely can be replaced as needed, as long as you keep a couple of extras in storage to make the transition without your workload suffering.
By dividing your replacement plan into fourths, you ll avoid having a large emergency expense when a large amount of your inventory malfunctions in the same year. You ll also ensure each of your employees operates at peak efficiency throughout the year. However, you ll quickly notice that when you start replacing equipment on an annual basis, you end up with a large surplus of old equipment in storage and you ll probably have little insight into how to responsibly dispose of it.
Third Step: Preparing for Disposal
Once you ve determined a replacement plan, you ll also need to put a policy in place for recycling the old equipment. Otherwise there will be stacks of PCs and peripherals in an area of your office that could be used for more important purposes. Consider whether you would prefer to donate the old PCs or recycle them and research local options for your old equipment.
Before you send the first piece of equipment offsite, however, you should consider the sensitive information that could reside on the hard drives inside it. Employees can easily leave traces of data such as passwords, customer contact information, and social security numbers on their PCs. Unless you have a hard drive disposal plan, your business could find itself dealing with a serious data breach. Once your customer information has fallen into the wrong hands, your reputation can suffer and you could face penalties for violating regulations specific to your type of business.
Fourth Step: Put Your Plan in Place
Many businesses lack the time necessary to deal with both equipment purchase and disposal on a regular basis. For that reason, Needham companies usually rely on third-party service providers to advise and handle their equipment needs. Vendors that sell computer equipment can help walk a business through the steps of ordering equipment and will even deliver and help with setup. But when it comes to equipment disposal, many Needham businesses let equipment accumulate until removal becomes more complicated than they d imagined originally.
NCWS works with businesses across the country to come up with an equipment disposal process that works for them. We will plan a hard drive disposal process customized to your business s unique needs, using our two-step process to erase and shred hard drives. Our hard drive disposal services ensure that any data that once resided on a drive is not retrievable by even the most sophisticated criminals. We can even come to your business s location to destroy the drive and recycle any equipment to your specifications.
Fifth Step: Document and Evaluate
As you create an equipment replacement and disposal plan, be aware that your decisions aren t set in stone. You ll likely notice things that need to be adjusted once you begin putting your plans in action. Carefully document the new equipment coming in and exiting, taking extra precautions to note your hard drive disposal practices. If you shred hard drives as part of your recycling, note any characteristics of the drive that was disposed, as well as the serial number of the device that once housed it.
Each year, audit your processes and note improvements you can make. You may find that you need to talk to NCWS about a new procedure for hard drive destruction, for instance, as your compliance requirements change. Make sure you document any changes you make to your procedures as a result of your annual review.
Needham businesses can keep their equipment safe while also ensuring the devices they use each day are as productive as possible. It s important to come up with a replacement cycle as well as a hard drive disposal plan to keep workspaces clear and avoid having to replace a large amount of equipment at once.