IDC Anticipates Strong Future for IT Asset Disposal Industry, Driven by Security, Regulatory, and Environmental Responsibilities

FRAMINGHAM, MA – JULY 19, 2007 – Businesses are increasingly turning to third-party disposal services to deal with computer systems and peripherals that are being retired, according to a new IDC report. This trend, driven by growing concerns about data security and environmental impact, is causing the IT asset disposal (ITAD) industry to undergo a major transformation.

In a survey commissioned by Dell, IDC found that more than one third of all the companies surveyed use a third-party IT disposal service, with relatively little variation across countries. The reasons for turning to an ITAD service, however, varied from country to country. Data security was cited as the key decision-making factor by companies in North America and Germany, while environmental mandates and "social responsibilities" were the primary concerns in the United Kingdom and France, respectively.

Data security was also cited as one of the top reasons organizations surveyed said they are not employing a third-party IT asset disposal service. IDC attributes this finding to a common misconception among organizations that are not aware of well-established processes that guarantee maximum data security from IT disposal service providers.

"The need for a comprehensive IT asset disposal plan is resonating well in the commercial sector where companies are working hard to protect themselves against all sorts of risks, while reducing their own environmental footprint," says David Daoud, research manager, Personal Computing at IDC. "Over the next two years, IDC believes the ITAD sector will be in a much stronger position to articulate its offerings as companies will be forced by regulation to focus on the proper retirement of their IT assets."

The survey data also shows a relationship between the size of a company and its probability of using a third-party disposal service. Adoption rates are significantly higher for large companies – nearly 65% for companies with more than 10,000 workers. IDC discovered that a low percentage of small businesses – companies with fewer than 100 employees – hired a third-party IT asset disposal (ITAD) service. IDC expects this trend to change over time as ITAD vendors develop and market their offerings to the SMB sector and as the sector comes to better understand the risks.

Banks were the most likely to use IT asset disposal services (63 percent), followed by health care and government organizations (39 percent). Home businesses and consumers were the least likely to use a third party ITAD provider.

This IDC study, Data Security and Environmental Concerns Top the List of Issues in IT Asset Disposal (Doc #207800), provides an assessment of ITAD adoption in North America and Europe. To do so, IDC surveyed more than 1,000 organizations in the United States, Canada, Germany, France, and United Kingdom to understand their thoughts, priorities, and concerns regarding the adoption of ITAD services. The survey was conducted in January and February 2007.

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Note to Editors: An executive summary of this report can be obtained by contacting Michael Shirer at

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