Data protection fears undermine corporate donation of IT

Computer Aid survey highlights reuse and recycling concerns

Data protection concerns are preventing many UK companies from disposing of their working computers by sending them for reuse, a new survey from charity Computer Aid International has revealed.

In a survey of 100 senior IT decision makers in UK companies with more than 1,000 employees, researchers Vanson Bourne, on behalf of Computer Aid International, found that just 14 percent of companies send all their working computers for reuse. The remainder sent their equipment to be dismantled and recycled or to lanfill. Legislation around e-waste recommends reuse as the preferred disposal method.

Of the companies that did not opt for reuse - through a charity such as Computer Aid International for example, 63 percent cited data protection concerns, 53 percent blamed cost, while 24 percent said that contractual obligations to a leasing company prevented them from choosing reuse.

However, 83 percent of these respondents said that they wanted to reuse working equipment if data protection and cost issues were addressed.

Of those recycling IT equipment, 28 percent of companies recycled all of their IT, and 41 percent recycling more than half.

The survey found that companies dispose an average of 542 computers a year, with companies replacing their base units (one third of respondents) and monitors (20 percent) every three years.

While most companies (83 percent) said they were compliant with the WEEE [Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment] Directive, which aims to reduce the volume of e-waste generated, Computer Aid found it worrying that 13 percent had no awareness of the legislation.

In addition, only 65 percent were confident that their unwanted IT was not being sent to landfill.

Anja Ffrench, director of communications at Computer Aid, said: "It is extremely worrying that many of the UK's largest companies are not able to guarantee that their equipment is not illegally dumped in landfill. Companies must use disposal providers that can track exactly where all their equipment is sent to so as to avoid the devastating impact on health and environment that e-waste can cause.

"Moreover, policies need to be put in place to ensure more reuse of working equipment. Disposing of PCs after four years is a huge waste of resources, since most computers will last for at least double this time. We hope that this research will encourage companies to improve their IT disposal procedures."

The Royal Mail recently donated 3,000 PCs and laptops to Computer Aid for reuse in Africa and Latin America, as part of the organisation's ongoing refresh programme.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags business issuesComputer Aid InternationalIT Business

More about TData

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Anh Nguyen

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place