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NextPhase wants your data center trash

NextPhase's new "asset recovery" services allow data center managers to easily -- and legally -- dispose of unwanted computer equipment.

So it's time to upgrade your servers. What do you do with the old equipment?


Some data center servers hold so much sensitive data the hardware isn't allowed beyond those four walls. When the hardware does make its way out, certain states forbid dumping the parts in landfills.


One solution might be NextPhase, a service offering from Converge Global Trading Exchange in Peabody, Mass., which provides procurement, asset recovery and supply chain services for the electronics manufacturing industry. The company launched an online asset management tool Wednesday so companies across the globe can easily solve this growing issue.


"This is a relatively new problem. Companies upgrading their assets that want to dispose of their old hardware containing sensitive data have to meet federal and state compliance measures," said Chris Adam, director of NextPhase Services in Peabody.


Before these types of services were available, companies would sell outdated PCs to employees, give the old hardware to charities to make room for updated equipment, or simply throw them in the dumpster.


But increasing federal and regulatory scrutiny of IT assets and consumer privacy has put the kibosh on those practices.


"Getting rid of IT assets in these ways puts the enterprise at risk because [of] the data involved. It could be breached and traced back to the original user," Adams said.


Data compliance is regulated by the federal government, but the actual disposal of equipment is regulated differently state to state.


NextPhase's service

Certainly, NextPhase isn't the first company to tackle this problem. Doing a simple Google search for "IT asset disposal" brings up links to companies like Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) and organizations, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), advertising recycling and other disposal services.


IBM, for example, assists in asset recovery by sorting, dismantling and breaking down hardware into reusable pieces through its Asset Recovery Solutions branch since 1994. It also buys back some obsolete equipment from large companies looking to upgrade their systems.


But there isn't really one "go-to" company branded for asset disposition services, and NextPhase hopes to fill that role.


The company provides IT asset disposal, recycling, remarketing and secure transport of equipment. Before materials are resold, data is erased. Items with no residual value are disposed of according to local, state and federal environmental mandates.


The new Asset Manager program is an ordering and online reporting system that customers can use to keep track of the entire process of removing outdated servers and other hardware.


Customers can complete the entire process of retiring their equipment via NextPhase's Web site, including scheduling equipment pickups, viewing real-time status of their retired assets, downloading financial and compliance reports, and finding estimates of asset remarketing values and disposal costs.


The biggest cost of asset disposal is logistical, with 40% of the cost going toward the actual equipment moving. On average, it costs about $61 per asset for full disposal within compliance standards, Adams said.


Adams said many enterprises don't budget for asset removal.


Companies that need to dispose of assets can call NextPhase and either ship them their hardware, or NextPhase can set up camp in a data center and remove all sensitive data before removing the hardware from the building.


The parts are then either remanufactured and resold, or disposed of. For parts that are sold, the profit is shared with the company and used to offset the cost of the services.


Depending on the condition of those assets, Adams said, customers will either get a profit sharing check or -- if nothing is salvageable -- an invoice.


Let us know what you think about the story; email: Bridget Botelho, News Writer

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