Customer expectations are shifting as more choose to shop online to meet their retail needs. In fact, retail store closings as of April 2017 have already surpassed the 2008 historical high, according to a recent Credit Suisse report. 2,880 stores have closed, as compared to 1,153 in 2016, with the 2017 number projected to exceed 8,640.
Store closings are costly and emotional. People lose their jobs and must find other means of supporting their families. Between October 2016 and April 2017, 89,000 Americans were laid off from their work in general merchandise stores.
We hate to see stores close and recognize that this is often very stressful. But while it’s a difficult time for you and your employees, it’s also essential to take proper measures in closing your store. This includes partnering with a service provider that won’t neglect the secure disposal or recycling of IT assets containing sensitive store and customer information.
The consequences of improperly disposing of assets with sensitive data can be detrimental. In 2015, Safeway stores received $9.87 million in fines because the supermarket chain did not properly destroy confidential customer data, which included HIPAA data from Safeway pharmacies.
Desktops, credit card terminals, network gear, point-of-sale systems, security cameras and even printers and copiers require special attention when closing a store, as many of these contain sensitive data.
Here are four ways organizations can safely remove equipment from their store (the end result could be a combination of all four):
- Reuse: A growing number of retailers are finding their store IT assets are in good enough shape to continue using in other stores that remain open. This makes sense, especially for more expensive assets such as servers and networking gear. The age of the equipment is a key factor here.
- Resale: An asset in good condition that has been properly wiped can be resold or remarketed to offset some of the store closing costs. Again, the age of the equipment has a lot to do with its value in being remarketed.
- Recycle: Some IT assets that can’t be resold should be recycled to prevent them from ending up in a landfill. Many common office assets can contain hazardous materials such as cadmium, chromium, mercury and other carcinogens.
- Destroy: Numerous retailers prefer onsite data destruction so they can have peace of mind seeing their assets demolished firsthand. Other companies permit their used assets to be securely transported to data decommissioning centers. Either way, it’s important to consider the benefits of working with a single organization, versus many that do one-off pieces of the work stream.
When seeking a partner to assist with your IT Asset Disposition, you must ensure they have the appropriate experience and processes to take care of your used assets. Proper planning and due diligence are important in enabling a successful store closure, especially if there is enough time to plan after a store closure decision has been made.
These are some of the factors to discuss with your ITAD partner:
- The number and size of your stores to close, and a reasonable time frame for closure and asset removal
- The amount of equipment or number of used assets to remove, and what you would propose for reuse or resale (versus recycling)
- The number of skilled technicians needed at each location, which your ITAD partner will likely help determine
- Whether you would like your used data-bearing assets to be destroyed onsite or not
- The logistics involved if equipment is being transported, as a secure chain of custody is needed to transport data-bearing assets to warehouses for destruction
Are you closing a store soon? What are you planning to do with your used equipment? Take the ITAD quiz to find out if you’re doing it properly. Please share your thoughts on this process with a comment.