As everyone who’s in or around IT knows, time, resource and budget are precious commodities. So it’s never simply about whether you get a job done, but how long it took, how many people were involved and how much budget was consumed. And, of course, whether it was executed in compliance with company policies or applicable regulations.

How productively you utilize this precious time, IT resource and budget to accomplish your desired outcome will define your overall performance. When it comes to measuring performance from your data center ITAD, ITRenew has developed a methodology, called Total Return, which takes into account a variety of measures including data sanitization yield, remarketing values, IT labor and expense, revenue opportunity and service fees.

In this final installment of our blog series, we will look at the productivity considerations of Total Return—but let us first set the stage with these assertions:

1. Data security is the driver. The 10 most expensive data breaches of all time have cost between $56 million and $4 billion, so no measure of productivity can justify a data security vulnerability. However, as we point out in Part 1. Security at What Cost?, companies often invest more time and money for less security—not a productive outcome.

2. Software is the enabler. Truth be told, there’s one golden thread in the pursuit of Total Return: software. And not just any software. Rather than try to sell you why ours is the best, we’ll let our case study do the convincing, which represents real results based on actual numbers provided by a customer with one of the world’s largest data center infrastructures. You can refer to highlights below and then download the case study for the full scoop.

Case Study at a Glance

Erasure processing: Reduced from 10 to 2 days per cluster arrow-down
Labor hours: Reduced by 80% arrow-down
Drives recovered: Increased by 90% arrow-up
Revenue loss: Reduced by 60% arrow-down
Shredding cost: Reduced by 75% arrow-down
Gain per server: $57 arrow-up
Gain per drive: $14.25 arrow-up
Total Return gain: Over $14 million per year arrow-up

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Accordingly, our discussion will be largely focused on the productivity gains from a software-driven, data security-centric approach.

Productivity from your security process
There are three common approaches when it comes to securing data during decommission, each with its productivity pros and cons:

  • Shred all drives. This is quick and efficient, but lacks a paper trail for auditing. If onsite, you spend money to shred the remarketing or RMA values and it’s bad for environment. This requires low labor hours and can free up data center floor space quickly, but hits the pocketbook big time.
  • Erase offsite. This saves IT time but is extremely dangerous as you are shipping dirty drives, likely at a premium for secure transport. If the vendor lacks an efficient erasure platform, those processing costs will be passed along to you. Plus, commonly used erasure tools may only yield 50-60%. This option is efficient in the sense that you get systems out of the data center quickly, but you pay higher fees, expose yourself to data breaches and your remarketing returns suffer from low yields and delays getting to the secondary market.
  • Erase onsite. This is the best security option as data can be verifiably eradicated before leaving the premises, but if the software lacks the efficiency, scalability and compatibility to process your high-volume high-capacity drives, you will expend several weeks trying to systematically wipe the drives, consuming labor and floor space while still facing potentially low yields. Often, this option is so inefficient that most data center operators turn to the first two options out of necessity. That’s exactly what happened in the case study: the previous software’s shortcomings forced the customer into less secure, more costly options.

Erasing onsite with ITRenew’s Teraware provides the best of all worlds. Teraware is a scalable solution that can wipe 10,000 drives in the same amount of time it takes to wipe a single drive, saving labor expense, energy and data center floor space, and it consistently produces 95+% yields that maximize remarketing value. It’s also the best option in protecting your data, as its 100% auditable and a Certificate of Sanitization is systematically generated onsite.

Productivity from your erasure software
How productive your data sanitization software is can be defined by two outcomes: how often it successfully erases and how long the process takes.

When the erasure fails to yield, the drive must be destroyed. As we already covered, this kills value, adds cost and risk and is bad environmentally. Also, many software providers will charge a wipe license even when it fails (but not ITRenew). Interesting side note: per the case study, using Teraware we recovered 60% of the drives that failed using some other “industry leading” tool.

The longer the erasure process takes, the worse it is for you the customer. Not only are you spending more money on IT labor and energy, you are wasting valuable data center floor space. It’s estimated that companies selling any “as a service” generate $12,000 of revenue per square foot/per year from the data center. This equates to $33 per sq ft/per day. So for however long you let a rack (which is 3’x3’ or 9 sq ft) sit in a data center wiping, you are losing potential revenue.

And, of course, the longer it takes for product to get to the ITAD vendor, the longer it takes for it to be sold. The lost time could affect value, especially in the volatile secondary market for enterprise equipment.

The opportunity cost
As we have hopefully demonstrated here and throughout our blog series, there are many factors that will contribute to and detract from your overall data center disposition performance. Your Total Return will be subject to the choices you make. To recap:

  • If you lower your program costs, you will free up budget.
  • If you reduce the amount of erasure processing time, you will free up IT resources while at the same time reduce floor space revenue loss. You will also get new equipment into production faster for greater productivity and energy efficiency and old equipment into the secondary market faster for higher resale.
  • If you increase your yield, you will add substantial revenue while improving IT sustainability.
  • And, if in the process of all this, you improve security, you will reduce the risk of being the next poster child for the costliest data breaches of all time.

So our last question is this: what could you do with all the time, labor and budget savings along with the new-found revenue that is generated through a technology-driven approach to data center ITAD?


Read our case study to see how we helped one customer achieve a $14+ million Total Return annual savings ❯❯