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Working from home: how to manage IT concerns

Organisations can now decommission their IT assets with their workers working remotely, where issues like data security are critical: Bridgette Vermaak – ITAD specialist, Xperien

NOMPU SIZIBA: In the current pandemic, a number of organisations continue to have their employees working from home. And, from time to time, organisations may need to make technology changes that impact all their staff. There is now a way that organisations can decommission their IT assets with their workers working remotely, and in this process important issues like data security remain critical.

Well, to expand further on this, I’m joined on the line by Bridgette Vermaak, an IT asset-disposal specialist at Xperien. Thank you so much for joining us, Bridgette. You’re an it asset-disposal expert, and you say organisations can now decommission their IT systems with their workers still employed at home. Just tell us what that entails, and the benefits that an organisation can derive from this sort of service.

BRIDGETTE VERMAAK: Thank you Nompu, and thank you for having me on your show this evening. What is discovered with the lockdown is that we’ve got a lot of clients that are concerned about getting technology back from the end user. So, if you think of any large organisation, they would deploy a new laptop to their users, which is generally quite a cumbersome project even at the best of times. Now with lockdown, it’s become an even bigger challenge, and the technology change is under pressure because of it.

So we’ve got users at home that are currently sitting with two laptops, for example. The managed-service providers are deploying their new laptops, because there is no way of returning their old equipment. The concern is, firstly, about removing the data on that equipment. That’s obviously a concern about Covid and then of getting it back into the organisation.

A lot of companies have the work-from-home scenario, where you no longer have the storeman managing a storeroom. That’s already a challenge, never mind getting the asset back.

What we’ve developed is a solution for all our clients. We are able to deploy a sanitisation firm to the end user so we will remotely sanitise the asset. What I mean by “sanitising” the asset is two things. Firstly, removing the data, which is important to maintain compliance and to ensure that the company’s proprietary information is removed off those assets, and then obviously to sanitise from a Covid perspective.

What we do find is a lot of logistics companies no longer want to touch or have a lot of interfacing things of collecting assets because they’re concerned about Covid and, as I say, are having that concern.

NOMPU SIZIBA: It makes a lot of sense. I wanted to ask – procurement officers who are perhaps listening to this may be wondering about the cost implications of this kind of service.

BRIDGETTE VERMAAK: There are minimal or no fees at all. If the asset is three to five years [old], it generally holds a residual value, which we give back to the organisation. Because it has a residual value, the cost can be recovered from that asset. So that’s the cost to sensitise, annexe and report back to the organisation. They may still even find that they get a return on investment from that still, but obviously not as much as they would’ve prior to Covid.,

NOMPU SIZIBA: Obviously, in your line of work you’re governed by a number of different pieces of legislation. I suppose the Protection of Personal Information Act would be one of them.

BRIDGETTE VERMAAK: Correct. We need to ensure that the data is effectively removed from that asset. So we’re not just saying we remove that data. We actually provide evidence that the data has been removed. So we give the organisation a certificate of authentication that the data has effectively been removed per device. That ensures that they’ve obviously complied with the Protection of Personal Information Act, and that we ourselves have complied as an organisation as well.

NOMPU SIZIBA: Excellent. Bridgette, we’ve got more to ask you, but not enough time. Thank you very much for giving us some insight into this new service. That was Bridgette Vermaak, an IT asset disposal specialist at Xperien.

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