Cobalt Talking Points & Definitions

IT Asset Disposition

IT Asset Disposition covers a range of processes and practices involved in the responsible disposal of IT hardware, typically from a business or organizational setting, that is no longer in service. ITAD can include traditional scrap material recycling, refurbishment, and resale. The ultimate goal: reduce waste by extending the lifespan of the products that power our connected world. 

Data Sanitization is the process that makes the data unreadable, but keeps the hard drive itself usable. But, don’t misconstrue data sanitization as “removing data.” In fact, data sanitization is actually the process of having the data on that hard drive over-written so many times that the original data is impossible to distinguish.

  • A quick health check of the drive is performed to ensure the health of the drive. If it passes, then starts the overwrite process.
  • A single pass overwrite is pretty self-explanatory. With single pass overwriting, the data on each hard drive is written over one time. The overwrite may be done with a single character, such as a “0” or “1,” or a random set of characters. Cobalt uses a random set of characters.
  • After the single pass, the software verifies the sanitization by comparing each sector of the drive to the random string of characters it just wrote. If the characters on the sector do not match the random string  of characters the drive fails the verification and will be discarded.

Chain of custody describes the process for tracking ownership of, access to, and liability for assets. It basically asks and answers the question, “Whose responsibility is this?” when property, physical or digital, changes hands.

Establishing who is legally responsible for something valuable is important in the event that something happens to that asset somewhere along the way, such as damage, loss, or theft. Evidence of chain of custody can be critical during an audit or investigation. Learn more about Chain of Custody and how it protects you.

R2 – or, Responsible Recycling – is a leading electronics recycling certification that issues standards for ITAD and e-waste recycling companies to commit to. These standards touch on data security and destruction, documentation, environmental health and safety, downstream chain of custody, and risk mitigation processes. Cobalt was among the first e-waste recyclers in the country to earn R2 Certification in 2012. Paired with RIOS, our dual certifications are there to give you peace of mind. Learn more about R2 certification and how it protects you.

The Recycling Industry Operating Standards certification is a quality, environmental health and safety standard specifically designed for the scrap recycling industry. It applies to both traditional scrap recyclers and those handling electronics specifically, and works in tandem with the R2 program to maintain the quality of our processes. 

i-SIGMA is a trade organization for secure information lifecycle management and as of 2022, encompasses the body formerly known as NAID (National Association for Information Destruction) together with Prism International to create a new international ethical standard. Cobalt is proud to be an i-SIGMA member.

NIST 800.88 is a U.S. government document that provides methodical guidance when it comes to erasing data from electronic storage media. The goal is to effectively sanitize media so that any and all data is irretrievable once the data or data storage device reaches end-of-life.

  • NIST 800-88, published by the National Institute for Standards and Technology, is known for its media sanitization categories of Clear, Purge and Destroy. Its principles can apply to magnetic (HDD), flash-based (SSD), and other storage technologies. And, it can cover everything from mobile devices and USB drives to servers—or even technologies not yet developed.
  • The latest update, NIST 800-88 Rev. 1, is one of the most widely used data sanitization standards requested or required by the U.S. Federal government, and its adoption has spread to countless private businesses and organizations.

Solid-state drive (SSD) is a type of hard drive that uses integrated circuit assemblies to store data. It is also sometimes called a solid-state device or a solid-state disk. These are commonly found in modern computers and laptops, because they are essentially silent and produce very little heat.

Basic hard drives consist of one or more platters to which data is written using a magnetic head, that are positioned around a spindle inside of an air-sealed casing. These are more commonly found in older computers.