In a time when people and businesses are doing more sensitive work on computers and other electronics, the ability to securely dispose of such equipment has grown in importance. RenovoData Services in Eden Prairie securely destroys information technology (IT) equipment and does so without ever sending anything to the landfill.
Patch spoke with Frank Gustafson, president and CEO of RenovoData Services, about the company that started in 2009. The edited text of the interview is below.
Eden Prairie Patch: What services does RenovoData Services provide?
Frank Gustafson: We focus on end-of-life IT equipment, so basically, IT asset disposition. Our focus is in three areas: information security, environmental friendly recycling, and IT asset repurposing.
When a company needs to dispose of IT assets, they want it done securely and they want it done in an environmental-friendly manner…
We believe that anything that still has life in it, the best way to recycle is to reuse, whether that is through resale or reuse. Anything that can’t be reused, we recycle.
The third thing is information security … We can literally turn a hard drive into little pieces right in front of the customer’s eyes.
Eden Prairie Patch: Why isn't it enough for someone to simply delete their files from their computer?
Gustafson: Deleting doesn’t actually delete the information. It just changes the header, so that information is still there. The drive can be wiped using an industrial product. We use an $8,000 software package called Blancco to wipe the drive. We do that, but the piece that a lot of our customers require is the destruction. They want to watch it be destroyed.
If you have two hard drives sitting in front of you and one is wiped and the other one is not, you can’t tell the difference. It you see one that has been destroyed, you can tell the difference. That’s why we shred.
Physical destruction gives our customers piece of mind.
Eden Prairie Patch: What are the ways in which RenovoData Services keeps information secure?
Gustafson: We’re in the process of our getting our NAID certification, which means that we have a process that is audited on an annual basis, and these are surprise audits … at any time by a certifying body. That is the information security piece of it. Our customers never have to worry about equipment ending up in a landfill and their asset tags ending up on the news …
[Asset tags, Gustafson explained, are on electronics and tag it as belonging to a particular company.]
Eden Prairie Patch: How is this different from other companies?
Gustafson: Interestingly enough, most companies don’t have destruction policies and we are in the process of developing offers for businesses to help businesses develop polices.
Eden Prairie Patch: What is a Certified Secure Destruction Specialist (CSDS)?
Gustafson: There are only three people in the state of Minnesota that are certified and one of them works for us. And she can actually go out to our customers and set up security procedures for their critical information. We will be rolling that out the first quarter of this year.
Eden Prairie Patch: What is the significance of having a CSDS on your team?
Gustafson: There are only about 170 that are certified nationwide. … Claire [Christison] literally studied 8 hours a day for 30 days before she took the examination … that covers every aspect of the laws and destruction procedures and processes that we can help a company develop fail safe procedures within their organization …
Eden Prairie Patch: Can you describe your no-landfill policy? When did it take effect?
Gustafson: We’ve had a no-landfill policy since we first started. Everything that we recycle gets broken down to its original form factor and resold as commodities, for example, aluminum, copper, steel, plastic.
We don’t throw anything away. It all gets recycled. When we take a computer apart, not one single piece goes in the trash. Nothing.