Bridgette Vermaak, senior business development manager, Xperien

Q: How can refurbished IT equipment benefit firms?
A: Large corporates need to understand that 65% of the workforce are lower-power users and don’t require high-end machines. They’re wasting unnecessary capital on technology that’s not required. For example, a call centre in Sandton recently invested in 3 000 refurbished PCs. A local healthcare provider saved more than 75% by simply choosing an innovative alternative solution. Instead of spending more than R7 million on brand-new laptops, they managed to acquire 556 certified refurbished laptops for a quarter of the price. Another benefit of refurbished equipment is fast delivery because it is usually off the shelf, unlike new equipment, which can take up to six weeks to be delivered.

Q: What does Xperien’s refurbishing process entail?
A: Refurbishing is not merely the cleaning and packaging of devices. It goes through an intensive process, which includes replacing faulty components, OEM burn-in testing, cosmetic surgery, quality control, performance upgrading, software and firmware redeployment and packaging. Integrity tests are run on each critical component to ensure the highest standard and functionality.

Q: What are the benefits of leasing equipment compared with buying?
A: Liquidity is by far the biggest benefit of renting new or used equipment. Business owners can now purchase any IT equipment and spread the payment across the asset’s life. Rental is also the most effective funding option available on assets that require regular replacement. With various lease options available today, the new trend is to move away from owning products. Businesses can now keep up with the latest technologies without tying up working capital. Leasing also improves cash flow and allows the unit to be upgraded at short notice.

Q: E-waste is becoming a growing issue in SA. How can companies safely dispose of their outdated equipment?
A: Most companies have masses of e-waste – for instance, servers and storage devices, computers, tablets, phones and fax machines –waiting to be discarded. For the proper disposal of IT assets, awareness of the regulations and environmental concerns for using ITAD [IT asset disposal] services are essential. Many organisations don’t assign any special budget for asset disposal and as a result, the asset may be disposed of in an improper way, thus affecting the environment.

There are also many regulations that apply to asset disposal, e-waste, refurbishing, recycling and data protection. Ignorance of these laws is no excuse should an inadvertent breach occur or be discovered. It is extremely important that asset managers understand what happens at each step of the process in order to detect if a particular disposal company is properly qualified and doing things properly.

Q: How does the removal of obsolete electronics and destruction of old data benefit companies?
A: If organisations want to cut costs and be more efficient, why are they keeping so much unusable hardware around? Drives, servers and other IT assets could even be reused or resold once erased. Xperien has launched a programme to help companies replace old computers with new equipment free of charge. As part of this service, Xperien also assists with data erasure to ensure all data protection processes and regulations are met.

Redundant IT assets can now be used as a ‘trade-in’, allowing companies to reduce their total cost of ownership. At the same time, they can purchase and finance certified refurbished systems that cost up to 75% less than new machines.

Q: With regard to the Protection of Personal Information Act (PoPIA), how can firms be sure their data is safe during disposal of electronics?
A: If you use a professional, they will provide you with a data-sanitation certificate for your audit trail. There are three established methods: physical destruction or shredding, where the media is granulated; digital sanitisation – a software-based method; and degaussing, which uses magnetisation to neutralise the data and hard-drive mechanism. All methods are PoPIA complaint.

Q: What measures does Xperien follow to ensure that data is securely erased?
A: There are many things to consider when selecting the right data-erasure solution for your business. This includes the type of drive or device you need to erase; auditor demands; internal security policies; and data-protection regulations. Xperien provides absolute data erasure with a tamper-proof audit trail to ensure total compliance. We have partnered with Blancco, a global provider for secure data-erasure solutions, to help customers erase data securely across every IT asset. Each erasure is verified and certified, resulting in a tamper-proof certificate of erasure to prove compliance with local, national and global data-protection regulations. Blancco’s data-erasure solutions have been tested, certified, approved and recommended by 18 governing bodies around the world.

Q: Following the PoPIA guidelines, how does Xperien safely store electronic equipment?
A: Xperien usually avoids storing a client’s data and can usually provide on-site data erasure services. But when this is not possible, we use our Strongbox to transport the client’s data to a central location using a secure chain of custody.

By Ilze-Mari Gründling
Image: Janine Petzer

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