How Are Data-Wiping Solutions Evolving to Address the Needs of IT Asset Managers?

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By Kirk Wehby, Chief Operating Officer at Smith

Smith’s Chief Operating Officer, Kirk Wehby, shares his insight on the ever-changing requirements for data-wiping solutions.

Over the past 35 years as an electronic component distributor, Smith has constantly evolved and adapted to address the unique and growing needs of our customers, and our IT asset management program is no different. Since its inception, we have continued to improve our proprietary, internally developed data-wiping solution, SWIPE™, to provide a quick, cost-effective, and high-quality service tailored to our customers’ specific requirements.

IT asset management has quickly emerged as both a challenge and a revenue-generating opportunity for many companies. Technology updates are being developed at breakneck speeds, leaving tech-centric companies with mountainous stockpiles of decommissioned hardware. It is estimated that between 20 and 50 million metric tons of e-waste are disposed of each year, which accounts for approximately 70 percent of all toxic waste. Despite this, many IT assets can be wiped and remarketed, providing a solution that is both environmentally friendly and profitable.

Experts predict that, by 2021, 7.2 million data centers worldwide will store more than one zettabyte of data combined, which will equal nearly an eightfold growth since 2015. This massive increase of stored data has required an equally massive increase in drive volume and has served as a driving force behind our program’s evolution. We’ve continually upgraded both our software and hardware to manage our customers’ ever-growing inventory of decommissioned assets faster and in greater quantities at one time. With these upgrades, we’ve been able to boost our daily capacity nearly seven times over. Additional updates have also allowed us to monitor drive processing remotely, instead of monitoring from individual workstations.

Another major consideration for our customers is information security. Decommissioned IT assets frequently contain highly sensitive data that could be detrimental to a company’s business strategy if it were to fall into the wrong hands. With proper wiping solutions, such as SWIPE™, companies can rest assured that all of their data is removed and unrecoverable from their retired assets.

When our IT department initially developed SWIPE™, we were primarily working with hard drives (HDDs), which we would wipe, rewrite, and verify to Department of Defense (DoD) standards. Today, we’re seeing a greater influx of solid-state drives (SSDs), and most major drive manufacturers include self-wiping capabilities. These changes have allowed us to tap into the technology embedded into the drives themselves and maximize our efficiency. Furthermore, we’ve adapted our SWIPE™ program to adhere to National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) specifications, which are the prevailing standards and include considerations for SSD erasure, in addition to HDDs.

Above all, quality assurance has remained our number-one objective. Our SWIPE™ solution has been third-party verified by Kroll Ontrack, a recognized leader in data erasure and recovery, to provide our customers with added confidence in the effectiveness of our wiping process. This independent verification demonstrates our commitment to complete and unrecoverable data erasure for all drives that we process.

Despite these significant improvements, we continue to push ourselves further to exceed the needs of IT asset managers. We predict that our customers’ requirements for capacity, speed, and reliability will only continue to increase for the foreseeable future. With these objectives in mind, we are working to keep ahead of their needs by planning and implementing new initiatives and technology to address them.

 Learn more about Smith’s ITAD program here and follow us on social media for continuous updates.

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