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  • Writer's pictureESET Expert

Why business device management should keep green practices in mind

For anyone looking to delve into the sphere of green, environmentally friendly practices, it is of utmost importance to consider their habits. Among the habits we humans commit ourselves to daily is the use of phones and other electronic devices. These create a measurable impact on the environment, whether due to the way they were constructed, their purpose and use, or just thanks to general user habits. For individuals and companies looking to curb their environmental impact, a wise move is to introduce a responsible disposal and recycling policy for electronic devices. With the number of devices in the world, any and all disposal has to be taken seriously, due to potentially hazardous components inside.

However, this also goes hand in hand with the idea that any devices on the chopping block have to undergo a proper decommissioning process first, so as to not leave potentially confidential information on them.

Digital detox for electronic devices

First of all, asset management and refurbishment are the most important. IT departments usually have lists of devices as well as information on who uses those machines and how. Whether a device is used in the office or at home, it produces a footprint, most often in the form of energy used. Hence this should be kept in mind when purchasing newer ones. In all cases, energy efficiency is not to be dismissed as a selling point for new pieces of gear, but with refurbishment practices, anyone can maximize the usability and life cycle of devices to minimize their impact and e-waste generation. Secondly, if a device is to be disposed of or sold, secure data destruction has to be performed. Before we dispose of any piece of electronics, especially computers or phones, sensitive data deletion has to be ensured. In this case, a wipe of the hard/flash drive, magnetic erasure, or complete physical destruction of the storage to prevent unauthorized access to confidential data is advised.

To underline why this is important, feel free to read a finding by ESET Research on the data they found on secondhand devices they purchased. Research revealed the extent to which said devices had not been properly wiped and could have led to unauthorized access and even a data breach.

Flame on – handling faulty device batteries

Even though the current iteration of batteries in devices makes them safer, they can still pose a fire hazard, especially faulty or old batteries that have been left unused for a time. For a company managing tens or hundreds of devices that run on batteries, it should be of utmost importance to check their state, as a swollen battery can very well start a fire, costing you more than a potential replacement. For this purpose, having an established battery recycling program for work phones, laptops, and other devices makes sense given that said batteries could cause environmental contamination due to the hazardous materials they are made of.

This point is also coupled with proper e-waste management and recycling. Some manufacturers and retailers usually have take back programs accepting old devices for responsible disposal, sometimes even offering a new device with a discount for your old one.

What about server infrastructure?

This is a bit more complicated for many reasons; chiefly among them is the fact that any company with a large enough collection of servers inevitably faces the conundrum of whether upkeep is worth it at all, largely due to the associated costs that come with this decision.

Servers are the backbone of any IT operation, so their proper use can lead to significant cost savings. Obviously, having energy-efficient hardware that runs on efficient power supplies, low-power CPUs, and other advanced power management features can significantly reduce power consumption and maintain performance.

But in the context of recycling and asset maintenance, it is wise to consider sound lifecycle management, including planning for end-of-life disposal. Regularly assessing and upgrading servers can ensure that they would work efficiently and optimally.

Another option would be to eliminate the need for servers, or a reduction in their amount by outsourcing some of your server needs. For example, by offloading some of your on-prem cybersecurity needs in exchange for an identical cloud solution like ESET PROTECT, you can save server management and security costs. For more information, check out ESET’s cloud management cost calculator.

Top tip: The cloud brings costs down and lets you go green

In a previous blog, we discussed how cloud solutions can be both environmentally and wallet-friendly, meaning that they both help nature by reducing your footprint and help you by bringing some of your costs down. These measures allow any company to transform to greener practices (eclipsing certifications and future requirements), save costs and retain human expertise, instead of opting to save costs by letting go of your professionals and staying true to rigid, outdated business practices.

Further reading:

A blog on how energy security and green solutions have become key cybersecurity considerations.

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