Summary: Rapid technological advancements and regulatory compliances have pushed the growth of the ITAD market. Various contributing factors are expected to double in market capitalization within 10 years. This article will explore the aspects instrumental to this growth and its future.
In 2021 over 340 million PC, 1.34 billion smartphones, and 168 million tablets were sold globally. However, rapid technological advancements and regulatory necessities would render these devices obsolete, prompting disposition. IT asset disposition is a complex and technical field that requires compliance with various laws and standards and is undertaken by an ITAD. The ITAD market has been broadly categorized by service into 4 segments: the destruction of data, remarketing, value recovery, and recycling. Forecasts expect the global ITAD market to reach $31.8 Billion by 2032, doubling the 2022 valuation of $15.6 Billion with an annual CAGR of 7.4%. It is an opportunity for ITAD companies and second-hand dealers, refurbishers, and resellers. This growth trajectory has been fueled by the emergence of global data privacy laws, growing environmental concerns from e-waste, evolving storage environment, and the quick pace of technological advancements.
Factors affecting ITAD Growth & Future Prospects:
The future of the ITAD market looks promising, with North America poised to lead the market, followed by Europe and Asia. There are a host of factors that will push the market’s trajectory:
- Technological: Rapid technological advancements and internet penetration have led to a cascading effect wherein the devices are getting more powerful, but their life span is reduced. These advancements have also changed industry trends pushing for a more centralized storage environment through cloud-based architecture, making traditional storage devices less viable, and pushing for their disposal. Moreover, the Covid pandemic and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) are changing businesses like never before, prompting organizations to utilize ITAD companies for secure IT asset disposition.
- Environmental: We produced 57.4 Mt (Million Metric Tonnes) of e-waste in 2021, bringing the total to 347 Mt of unrecycled e-waste. This e-waste poses serious threats as more than 70% of hazardous materials in landfills are a direct result of e-waste. Full of toxic chemicals like lead, arsenic, and mercury, this waste pollutes the air, water, and soil. ITAD companies significantly reduce this e-waste, as this waste can be recycled. Organizations prefer to destroy these assets for fear of leaking confidential data, but proper data sanitization can ensure that data is safe. These devices can then be sold or donated, reducing e-waste, increasing revenue, cutting costs, and promoting sustainability. Reutilizing IT assets also reduces the burden and environmental impact of mining for resources required for manufacturing new devices.
- Regulatory: The rising costs and frequency of cyberattacks & data breaches prompted the rise of global data privacy and protection laws. These laws have strict compliance obligations that require adequate measures for data protection. This regulatory compliance has been a significant influencer for secure IT asset disposition, and with the advancements, in data erasure technology, physical destruction is no longer necessary for data protection. Instead, ITADs now employ software-based erasure to meet regulatory compliances and promote a circular economy.
Regulatory Compliances & the Need for Secure Disposal:
Devices such as laptops, desktops, mobiles, HDDs, SSDs, loose drives, servers, and IoT devices are all carriers of sensitive information that require protection and sanitization before disposal. An ITAD company is the ideal choice for handling all such devices and the requirements of secure disposal. The global ITAD market has seen an upward trend closely associated with the rise of data privacy laws and the need for secure data destruction. Various state and federal laws like GDPR, CCPA, and HIPAA have specific provisions addressing data privacy and recommendation for data sanitization that make hiring an ITAD company the viable choice for handling such assets. The fastest-growing sector in the ITAD market is the data destruction/ sanitization realm. Secure data disposal is a process that is common for all sectors of the ITAD industry. Since the enactment of GDPR, many more countries have also enacted data privacy laws. Similarly, many states in the US have followed suit, and the upcoming federal data privacy law ADPPA (American Data Privacy and Protection Act) will provide more impetus to the ITAD market. The July 2020 Morgan Stanley data breach disclosure showcases the best of how not to dispose of used IT assets. To save $100,000, Morgan Stanley outsourced the decommissioning of 2 of its data centers to an unverified non-ITAD vendor resulting in a data breach, a settlement of $60 million, and massive humiliation. This avoidable situation was made worse by a lack of understanding of the importance of ITAD companies for asset disposition and the need for secure data disposal. Organizations carry sensitive (Business, financial, proprietary) information and their customers’ PII (Personal Identifiable Information), both of which require adequate protection. Once IT assets reach the disposal stage, it has to be ensured that the data on these devices has been securely wiped to safeguard it against data breaches, residual data leakage, and protection from dumpster diving. Once data is sanitized and the sanitization process verified, IT assets can then be resold, recycled, donated, or reused as the situation demands without any fear. This is an environmentally, financially, and legally sound way to dispose of IT assets.
BitRaser Data Eraser Solution:
The ideal data sanitization method has been prescribed by NIST SP 800-88, using an overwriting software like BitRaser Drive Eraser with Admin Console that is tested & approved by DHS & NIST and supports 24 international erasure standards. It can simultaneously erase up to 65,000 drives using bootable USB or through PXE over a network. It is also capable of providing asset tags and customer information. This software also ensures compliance with global security and privacy regulation, including but not limited to GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA, GLBA, etc. Its scalability and manageability make BitRaser the ideal software for ITADs.
Safety, Security & Sustainability- The ITAD Way:
The potential and growth of the ITAD market have been phenomenal, and the future looks promising. Upcoming laws and data privacy legislation will further the cause of the ITAD industry. Organizations looking to stay compliant will have to utilize the services of ITADs to mitigate the risks associated with data breaches, data safety, and environmentally sustainable practices. Data breach incidents not only invoke hefty fines and penalties but also shake customer confidence resulting in diminished brand value. Therefore, organizations must evaluate their ITAD vendors based on a slew of factors: such as data security practices, certifications, data sanitization standards, and environmental concerns. This scope can be further widened according to their needs. We can conclude on this note that on a planet with limited resources, ITAD not only increases ROI on IT assets but also strengthens the organization’s obligation to sustainability.