HP announced survey results revealing that the majority of corporate America significantly underestimates the security, financial and environmental impact of technology equipment disposal.

Commissioned by HP Financial Services, the leasing and financial services subsidiary of HP, and conducted by research and consulting firm TNS, the survey’s key findings include:

  • Seventy percent of respondents underestimate the cost of disposing of PCs;
    • Sixty-six percent of executives with purchasing authority are unaware of the financial implications of ignoring environmental regulations when disposing of IT equipment;
    • The biggest concern regarding disposal of IT equipment is data security and privacy.

    The survey underscores the need for companies to improve their approach to IT asset disposal. IT and corporate management executives who fail to employ a safe and secure approach to equipment disposal face serious consequences, including fines, penalties and imprisonment.

    According to recent legislation, a company’s top executives are subject to various penalties from security breaches as a result of unlawful dumping of IT equipment containing confidential information.

    For example, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act authorizes criminal penalties of up to $250,000 and/or 10 years imprisonment per violation of security standards for patient health information. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act establishes financial institution standards for safeguarding customer information and imposes penalties of up to $100,000 per violation.

    HP Financial Services provides customers with peace of mind

    As businesses face increasing financial, regulatory and environmental issues related to IT disposal, HP Financial Services is increasing its commitment to real-world solutions that help customers achieve environmental responsibility while getting a better return on their IT investments.

    Leasing is one way for companies to mitigate the various risks involved with acquiring IT assets because the lessor (HP Financial Services, for example) assumes the responsibility for proper disposal of equipment at the end of its useful life. Leased equipment returned to HP Financial Services is disposed of in a safe, secure and environmentally friendly manner.

    Leasing also protects customers against the fines and consequences related to improper asset disposal and the violation of data security, personal privacy and environmental regulations.

    For instance, under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can hold the equipment owner liable if it has been improperly discarded — even if a company outsources disposal. Companies that fail to follow environmental regulations when retiring technology equipment are subject to regulatory fines, negative publicity and even litigation when discarded equipment containing toxic waste turns up in landfills or abroad in developing countries.

    “Throwing old computers and servers out in the trash is dangerous to the environment, and even if you go as far as hammering nails into a hard drive, personal information can still be stolen,” said Irv Rothman, president and chief executive officer, HP Financial Services. “HP Financial Services protects our customers’ assets and proprietary information while preserving the environment by following our strict data security and environmental safety guidelines. We give customers peace of mind because we take on all the risks for our customers’ equipment disposal.”

    HP has a long history of commitment to environmental performance and is a leader in developing and investing in innovative product return and recycling programs and technologies.

    For example, at HP Technology Renewal Centers, which receive off-lease and end-of-life customer equipment, HP reconfigures equipment with remaining value to original manufacturing specifications. All identifiable customer data is cleared during an intensive, HP-designed process. Devices that cannot be refurbished are disassembled for parts or disposed of in accordance with environmental laws.