A Helpful Guide to Understanding ITAM and ITAD Certifications

March 28th, 2016
ITAM & ITAD companies are shown in a field of green grass

Two major forces are rippling across corporate America, creating the perfect storm that has companies taking a good, hard look at their practices and processes surrounding Information Technology Asset Management (ITAM) and Information Technology Asset Disposal (ITAD).

First, there is the necessity to go “green.” With technology evolving quicker every day, the old way of throwing old IT assets in the dumpster to become someone else’s problem is dead. It’s not sustainable and it’s dangerous for the environment given the toxic materials electronic equipment contains.

Second, federal and state governments have passed strict and sweeping legislation regulating how IT equipment is recycled or disposed of at the end of the lifecycle. Legislation not only mandates how assets are disposed of, but also how the data they contain is destroyed in order to protect privacy.

The latest statistics, show 41.8 million tons of e-waste was generated worldwide in 2014. As manufacturers churn out new products, consumers refresh mobile devices ever 1-2 years, and the Internet of Things (IoT) begins to permeate our daily lives, that number is expected to climb annually. An abundance of new technology taking old equipment’s place, green recycling, and data security concerns – the perfect storm for companies wanting to do the “right” thing when it comes to their ITAM and ITAD programs.

The demand for IT asset management and disposal has created an excess of ITAM and ITAD firms. Not all of which can be trusted to handle the materials and data responsibly and legally. Media reports of data breaches, computer equipment piled up in landfills and toxic e-waste pollution don’t focus on the recycler, but instead on the company that owned the IT assets.

Recent lawsuits plus the subsequent multi-million dollar settlements and fines prove companies are still on the legal and ethical hook for protecting private data and the environment, no matter where their IT equipment ends up.

How can companies be certain that IT assets are being managed and disposed of in a secure, safe, and responsible way that protects confidential data and the environment? Enter ITAM and ITAD certifications that set an industry-wide standard for how assets should be managed from cradle to grave, data destroyed and materials disposed of or recycled.

There are various certification programs, sharing similar features such as providing an endorsement of quality, a focus on Total Quality Management (TQM) and/or ISO9001, compliant Environmental Management System and/or ISO14001, health, safety and security standards, and regular independent third-party audits.

Asset Management Comes Before Disposal…

Your IT asset management program drives your asset disposal processes. So let’s begin with ITAM certifications…

IT asset disposal companies will evolve and improve. It’s critical that you have an ITAM partner who stays on top of current topics and can integrate them in your best interest. The International Association of Information Technology Asset Managers (IAITAM) is the global leader in supporting the IT Asset Management profession through expert training and advice, as well as leading its members down a path of best practice to enhance the business drivers of ROI, efficiency, risk avoidance and professional development for the practitioner and their organizations.  Synetic Technologies is proud to be an IAITAM member so we can add value to our clients beyond disposal.

IAITAM also provides individual certifications, to verify the expertise of its membership, whether those members work within a major corporation or in support of corporations from the vendor side. Among the Synetic team is:

  • An IAITAM Certified IT Asset Manager (CITAM)
    A CITAM can help your organization define the organizational mission, overall strategies, objectives, measurements and prioritization of all IT Asset Management efforts so that what was previously a cost center can become a profit. With proper asset management practices, the bottom line can be increased. CITAM professionals can review existing infrastructure, policies and processes then devise an IT Asset Management Program for the future that helps properly manage assets across the enterprise.
  • An IAITAM Certified Hardware Asset Management Professional (CHAMP)
    A CHAMP follows the lifecycle of IT hardware assets beyond the scope of cradle to grave and tackles the practices that best manage those assets efficiently and cost effectively.  A CHAMP can save your organization money.  And today, finding those savings is more important than ever. The best measure of success is capturing these savings and showing the percentage of total IT hardware budget that was freed up to fund other projects.
  • An IAITAM Certification in IT Asset Disposition (CITAD)
    CITAD professionals are prepared to manage the IT asset disposal process within any organization. Best practices in IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) are broken down from policy management, to data security, to chain of custody transitioning, to financial return. CITAD professionals know how to avoid the risk of data loss and public exposure that surrounds a breakdown in ITAD process management.  With CITAD best practices employed, ITAD will no longer be viewed as corporate overhead, but rather a profit center and area of risk mitigation.


You’ve Managed Your IT Assets, but What Happens Next? Time for Disposal.

The Recycling Industry Operating Standard (RIOS) is a national certification program. RIOS was developed to integrate Quality, Environment, Health and Safety in to a single standard. In other words, RIOS combines the ISO 9000 (quality), ISO 14000 (environmental management), and ISO 18000 (health and safety) frameworks into one. RIOS gives companies a way to implement a scalable QEH&S management system concentrated on IT asset recycling requirements.

R2 “Responsible Recycling” certification is facilitated by the EPA, focusing on both data security and electronics recycling best practices. The R2 standard stresses reuse before recycle, illegal export prohibition, using an environmental management system, and the identification and proper management of “focus materials” that pose a potential environmental threat. But don’t be fooled. An EPA number on a certificate is not enough to prove your assets were handled properly.

Achieving true R2/RIOS certification isn’t easy. To earn our R2/RIOS certification, an accredited third-party auditor put Synetic Technologies through an objective examination. Criteria evaluated included our environmental management systems, quality programs, business performance and financial stability, employee health and safety programs, security systems and overall operations management.  Every year, Synetic goes through an audit to ensure that our facility and processes continue to meet the highest standards.

ITAM and ITAD Certifications Stand for Security and Credibility

ITAM and ITAD certifications ensure that your electronics recycler will do the “right” thing when it comes to managing, recovering value from, and disposing of your IT assets. These certifications provide a baseline for best practices in asset management, and ensure that your ITAM program is structured correctly from cradle to grave to protect your firm from liability while maximizing financial return.  Without certifications, there is no way to be certain that your ITAD partner is following the proper processes to protect you from liability, which leaves your organization at significant risk.  Especially in today’s climate of low commodity prices, where unethical and uncertified electronics recyclers are consistently appearing in the news for cutting corners.

Certifications give credibility to IT asset management and disposal firms, like Synetic, since they are trained, educated, and audited by third party organizations that lead the ITAM and ITAD industry. In Synetic’s case, certifications allow us to strategically lead and guide companies that do not have a standard ITAM or ITAD practice in place to deliver maximum value recovery and liability protection to their organizations.