What is IT Asset Disposition (ITAD)?

What is IT Asset Disposition or ITAD?

Let's start by laying out the industry term and the definition. IT Asset disposition is short for Information Technology (IT) Asset Disposition. The acronym used in the information technology industry for IT asset disposition is ITAD. It's one thing to know a term or a definition. To really understand IT asset disposition, it important to understand what is involved, such as the major aspects of ITAD.

In addition, it's good to what proper IT asset disposition looks like and the risks of doing ITAD the wrong way. IT asset disposition projects and solutions can range from the simple to the incredibly sophisticated. In either case, a solid understanding of ITAD is important for so many reasons. 

With that in mind, the following will serves as an thorough overview of IT asset disposition. 

Definition of IT Asset Disposition (ITAD)The Definition of IT Asset Disposition

While the definition for IT asset disposition may vary slightly depending on the source, the following definition is one that is clear and concise:

IT Asset Disposition is the practice of disposing of IT hardware and equipment in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.

What Types of Tasks Are Involved In IT Asset Disposition Projects and Solutions

ITAD often refers to the business or vendors that specialize in providing solutions to organizations wanting to dispose of unwanted IT assets, equipment, or hardware. These solutions can range from simple to highly sophisticated depending on the requirements and needs of the organization.

An IT asset disposition solution can consist of services such as:
  • data sanitization and data erasure
  • asset management
  • asset recovery
  • remarketing IT assets
  • staff augmentation
  • drive shredding
  • recycling
  • logistics
  • relocation services
  • data center decommissioning

Proper IT asset disposition (ITAD)Importance of Proper IT Asset Disposal

IT asset disposition (ITAD) is an important aspect of IT asset management (ITAM). The disposal of IT equipment and physical assets is not an afterthought. It is a key part of IT asset management because the disposal phase is a part of your equipment's life cycle. When it comes to the management of your IT equipment throughout its lifecycle, proper disposal is important for several reasons:

  • Data Security
  • Environmental responsibility
  • Recovering value from your IT assets
  • Proper planning and considerations for your technology refreshes

With proper ITAD 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 Asset Disposition ProfessionalIT Asset Disposition Services

While an organization can try to develop its own ITAD program and do IT asset disposition on its own, there are some things to consider. Disposing of IT hardware may seem like a quite simple and easy thing, there are major benefits to doing it right and major risks to doing it wrong.

To maximize benefits and minimize risks, there are professional IT asset disposition services available in the market. Working with a reputable, qualified, and certified ITAD company is a popular option for many companies and organizations worldwide.

Quality ITAD companies are experts that can manage the planning and details associated with disposing of IT equipment. With their knowledge and resources, they can even provide reclaimed monetary value on your used IT assets.

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

Major Aspects of IT Asset Disposition (ITAD)

Data Security Considerations and ITAD

This may be one of the most important yet overlooked risks for a data breach among IT professionals. There is a major focus on cybersecurity in the world of information technology and business. The valuable data that exists on your IT equipment is also important and poses a serious data security risk.

According to an article titled, Discarded IT Can Hurt You, the IT assets you’re getting rid of “may contain information such as:
  • Passwords
  • Application IDs
  • Links to secure sites and information
  • Personal data
  • Financial data
  • Healthcare information
  • Private information
  • Data on friends and relatives
  • Databases
  • Intellectual property”

Furthermore, according to a study conducted by IBM, as of the year 2021, the average cost of a data breach is $4.74 million dollars. That means ignoring the potential data breach costs associated with ITAD is a risky proposition. Here are some other statistics from the data breach study:

  • The highest average cost was in the United States
  • It took on average 287 days to remedy the data breach
  • The industry with the highest average data breach costs was healthcare
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

Minimize your risk of data breaches by applying best practices. Avoid the steep costs, fines, and potential lawsuits. 


The proper planning and handling of IT equipment disposal is all part of the decommissioning process. This means things such as full technical de-installation, packing/crating services, and transportation.

With the security, compliance, and environmental considerations, a methodical and thorough system to handle the retiring of your IT assets is important. Decommissioning can include but is not limited to the following:

  • Planning and logistics
  • Transportation
  • Chain-of-custody
  • Supply chain management
  • Full reporting


Wondering if your decommissioned assets have value? Like many other types of equipment and technology, there is a secondary market where pre-owned equipment and hardware is in demand from buyers. The most familiar example is cars. Many times, a car a person owns has a value at the time when that person wants to buy a new car. The same is true for IT hardware like servers. Experienced experts in the ITAD industry can provide a valuation of your equipment based on market and business considerations.

Value Recovery

Quality ITAD service providers want to earn your business, so they will try to help you reclaim as much value on your used equipment as they can.

Some companies have greater resources and an extensive network of potential buyers for your used assets. This gives them an ability to provide more monetary value for your used assets. This helps lower your total costs of ownership of hardware over its lifecycle.

There are distinct options to how you receive monetary value from your used IT equipment depending on your specific requirements, details of your refresh cycle, the kind of equipment, the amount of equipment, and market factors.

A quality ITAD company will help you recover monetary value using strategies and tactics like the following:

  • 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-premise, lease vs. buy recommendations
  • Future depreciation analysis
  • Accuracy across all major OEMs
  • Dedicated OEM product specialists

Key Considerations for ITAD

Environmental and Sustainability Considerations

Proper IT asset disposition includes disposing of IT equipment in an environmentally sound way that considers sustainability. With this in mind, there are certain best practices, government regulations, and laws that are designed to accomplish this goal. 

Compliance and Legal Considerations

You should also consider compliance and laws associated with disposing of IT hardware. Compliance in these areas is important and can also be costly if you do not meet compliance requirements. This is one reason companies who specialize in ITAD services and solutions are a popular option for many companies and organizations. 

ITAD Certifications and Credentials to Consider

Like any industry that offers products and services, there are some companies that earn a reputation of quality and expertise. In the ITAD industry, there are some certifications to look for that signal an ITAD provider is committed to quality, proficiency, data security, environmental safety, and a high level of knowledge. 

Here are some of the certifications and credentials to look for in an ITAD partner. 

The Dangers of Improper ITAD

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?

  • The biggest data breach fines, penalties and settlements so far
  • Hard Drives Lost, Affecting Nearly 1 Million
  • Stolen Hard Drive Contained PHI of 76,000 Texas Patients
  • If the Data Breach Doesn’t Kill Your Business, the Fine Might

It’s pretty obvious how much can go wrong if you use improper ITAD 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 an ITAD 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 IT asset disposition 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.