Bridgette Vermaak, head of IT asset disposal, Xperien, speaks to ITWeb Events about the safe disposal of eWaste.

Most companies accumulate masses of eWaste, such as servers and storage devices, computers, tablets, phones and fax machines, and most have no idea what to do with it.  But it is imperative that organisations dispose of their eWaste through the right channels to avoid costly penalties.

Bridgette Vermaak, head of IT asset disposal at Xperien, who is presenting at the ITWeb POPI Update II at the Focus Rooms Sunninghill, on 21 November 2017, told  says companies need to ensure that their service providers are licensed and properly accredited. Penalties for poor disposal of broken or redundant computers, that are considered hazardous waste, can be costly.

ITWeb Events spoke to Vermaak about the role Xperien plays in the disposal of eWaste and why the time to comply is now.

ITWeb Events: You are presenting at the POPI Update II in November on how to comply with POPI at a time of disposal, and reduce cost of ownership – can you tell us a little more about why this is important to business?

Vermaak: Corporates often store their redundant IT equipment for long periods of time as there is no budget for effective disposals and they are unaware of companies such as Xperien that offer assistance in this regard.

Storing IT equipment indefinitely opens the company to risk of data theft. Using a compliant disposal company that destroys the data on redundant IT equipment and offers value to cover the costs involved in effective disposals, mitigates the risk of data loss or theft.

ITWeb Events: You are showcasing the Xperien mobile hard drive shredder truck – can you tell us more about the truck, what is special about it and why is it relevant in pre-POPI compliance age?

Bridgette Vermaak, head of IT asset disposal, Xperien.

Bridgette Vermaak, head of IT asset disposal, Xperien.

Vermaak: A few clients, particularly in the financial institutions, expressed concern around the transportation of data. The solution was simple: create a service similar to that of a paper shredding truck to allow for onsite data destruction.

By destroying client data onsite, we are able to eliminate any chain of custody and transportation concerns.

The data baring unit is destroyed at the client's site in full view of the clients. The unit is shred in 20mm pieces of steal and data can no longer be obtained from that device, thus ensuring POPI compliance at end of life equipment.

ITWeb Events: Why, in your opinion, are many organisations employing a ‘wait-and-see' attitude when it comes to implementing POPI?

Vermaak: The feedback I have received from clients is the cost and time associated in becoming POPI compliant, which appears at first look, overwhelming.

There is not enough evidence to support a date on implementation, it does not make sense to spend a lot of time and budget on legislation that may take another five years to implement.

ITWeb Events: Change management seems to be a key factor in the effective implementation of POPI. Why is this, and what have you experienced when visiting clients and assisting them in the process of disposal?

Vermaak: Traditionally, there was never a focus or concern around the effective disposal of redundant equipment.

It was usually just stored somewhere out of sight and forgotten about or given to a staff member or charity.

With POPI, clients need to ensure that the data that resides on the equipment is effectively destroyed and the unit disposed of in a compliant and environmentally friendly manner.

Management is now insisting that IT support provides certification of data destruction and disposal enforcing the IT representative to give more focus on the disposal of their redundant equipment.

ITWeb Events: What is the first question that most clients ask when engaging you in conversation on this subject?

Vermaak: How much is it going to cost?

ITWeb Events: Why did you say yes to presenting at the upcoming POPI Update II?  What is it that you bring to the table and what do you want attendees to take away with them after your presentation?

Vermaak: By engaging with the correct supplier, data compliance and disposal at end of life equipment is simple.

Don't leave it long enough to impose data theft and reputational loss for your company.