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New study highlights the rise in e-waste during global pandemic

Blancco, Joensuu, Finland, which helps organizations safely erase data and keep current data secure, has released its new report, "The Rising Tide of E-Waste," which shows the impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has had on electronic scrap.

The study also shows that 97 percent of companies surveyed had to buy laptops, and 77 percent of American respondents say they also had to buy a new device to handle working from home more.

Blancco partnered with Coleman Parkes on the study to explore enterprise perspectives on end-of-life electronics. The study highlights the e-scrap and sustainability challenges and opportunities the COVID-19 pandemic has created.

More than 53 metric tons of e-scrap were produced in 2019, Blancco states in its study. Purchasing new technology to facilitate employees’ transition to remote work during the pandemic has sparked data security and e-scrap fears as businesses increase the volumes of devices they own and ultimately the amount of data that resides on them.

Blancco’s study showed that nearly 75 percent of respondents bought devices brand new to deal with the move from traditional offices to home office environments.

However, the study also found that 78 percent of respondents agreed with the statement, “COVID-19 caused unnecessary short-term investment in technology, which will leave us at risk with data being stored on a wide range of devices.”

This demonstrates an awareness of security risks among decision-makers. Enterprises inevitably will face challenges following the switch to remote working, but the importance of using appropriate methods of data sanitization when new devices are eventually decommissioned remains imperative, according to the study.

Aiming to understand these new challenges, the survey explored current approaches to e-scrap management and found that while 44 percent of enterprises did have an e-scrap policy in place for end-of-life device management, it was not yet being communicated or implemented.

However, the survey identifies that e-scrap initiatives tend to struggle within the modern enterprise because of a lack of ownership around the communication of the policies and in their implementations and compliance.

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