Asset Recovery Check list

Horizon Technology Factory Recertified HDD Program

Asset Recovery Check list

18:00 07 December in Uncategorized

Today’s competitive landscape requires looking far and near for opportunities to enhance the bottom line.  The decommissioning and the reselling of hardware assets are widely accepted practices and a required skill in maximizing P&L results.   Selecting the right partner and focusing on the right issues is the difference between success and failure.

Decommissioning and reselling assets such as hard drives is an area that many are aware of but fear to go.  Customer personal information getting out is a disastrous proposition and many think that it is not worth harming the company name.   I am here to tell you that you can both protect the integrity of your brand while maximizing the return on your assets.  I also want to debunk the myths around asset recovery and outline fundamental principles to successfully navigating and maximizing the return on the recovery of your hardware assets.

Asset Recovery Check list:

  •  Focus on the high return items
  •  Work with market experts
  •  Work with a company that has strong work flows and procedures
  •  Work with a company that has a mature customer base


With more asset recovery houses out there that you can shake a stick at, how do you select the right one?  Not all your assets will have value.  Apply Pareto’s principle and identify those items that most likely will bring you the highest return.  Typically it is your hard drives, memory and CPU.   First, make sure you are dealing with an asset recovery house that performs the actual work rather than one that outsources to a third party to perform the reclamation, storing, and selling of the inventory.   Stay away from the generalist who handles everything from hard drives, cables, and plastics to dead motherboards and routers.   Work with organizations that provide demonstrable expertise and a strong customer base within the products that you want to sell to bring the highest possible return.

They will know the market and potential customers for those items as well as the best approach to maximizing your return.  Additionally, look for organizations that are able to increase your return by finding creative ways to reintroduce your product into the supply chain, such as utilizing your product within downstream aftermarket service contracts.  If there is a demand for the assets that you are selling by OEMs supporting after market warranty programs you will see significantly higher returns.

Many asset recovery houses will tout their proprietary equipment and make claims to achieving higher yields than the next guy.  There is no magic in wiping a disk drive, it is about writing ones and zeros on the drive.   There is only one speed and that is determined by the drive interface and the size of the drive.  There are two primary industry accepted wipe options. The first is by writing zeros and ones on every space on the drive. The second is the secure erase option which is made available by the drive manufacturer on select models. The drive encrypts the data on command and renders it useless.  Don’t let asset recovery houses charge high wipe fees based on DOD three wipe passes.  The majority of experts think that a three pass wipe is overkill.  A single pass with the proper software to validate that there is no data left on the drive is adequate. Many asset recovery houses say that they repair drives.   Few have the right environment or expertise to make physical repairs.  This leaves software fixes, which is a reallocation of drive sectors that results in a nominal increase in yields.

If all asset recovery houses more or less use the same approach to sanitizing drives how does one select an asset recovery house?  Other than product expertise that we referenced earlier, make sure your asset recovery partner has bullet proof work flows.   I can not emphasize this more; do not risk your good name working with an organization that does not have well documented workflows and processes.  Not only do you want to make sure your partner knows how to wipe a drive but you must also know that mistakes happen on a busy shop floor.   It is imperative that your asset recovery partner have the requisite processes to track each individual drive through the wipe process and the proper controls are in place to identify and contain errors to ensure a drive that has not been wiped can not leave the facility without being wiped.

Make sure that your asset recovery partner is able to offer you the necessary transparency into their workflow to track your product. They should provide you with documented test and wipe results upon completion.  Verify that they have a clearly identified process for managing items to be scrapped including operating within environmental laws and are able to provide you with the necessary documentation to ensure that you are free of any future liability.
Asset recovery doesn’t have to be hard and it doesn’t have to live in a black box.   With a minimal investment and following the asset recovery checklist you can both maximize your return and have peace of mind when liquidating your assets.

We are interested in hearing your experiences and ideas around asset recovery.  Please reach out to us at

Stephen Buckler