When it's time to dispose of a computer, wrecking the hard drive is fine if data security trumps all other concerns. In most cases, it doesn't.These days most business users replace their computers when they are three to five years old, so the machine has several years of useful life left. Consequently, most such machines retain some intrinsic value as they go out the door-if they are left in operable condition, indicated Mike Watson, senior compliance manager at Dell Global Asset Recovery Services.
Last month we looked at services that degauss and shred hard drives as the ultimate data security measure. But Watson explained that Dell's Asset Recovery & Recycling Services keep the fate of the data and the hardware separate. The data on the machines is wiped clean and then an image of the operating is reloaded so that the machine can remain in use.
Dell offers the service (including packing) on-site if there are at least ten machines involved, and will handle all logistics, he said. As specified by the customer, the service will either resell, recycle, or donate the machines, or handle a lease return, or organize an employee purchase program. All the options can include certified data destruction with at least three-pass wiping, he said.
The price ranges from $15 to $40 per unit, depending on various factors, and the price can often be offset by the resale value of the machine. Dell will process hardware from any vendor. The service is available in most countries outside South America, where it is available only in Mexico and Brazil, he added.
Those with fewer than ten machines to dispose of can use the consumer service that Dell offers through drop-off points at Goodwill or Staples locations, he added. But the users need to handle the data destruction.