Computers double in power every couple of years, according to Moore’s Law. That’s good news for companies and their people—continually faster and smarter gear can power higher productivity.

But there’s also a downside to Moore’s Law: devices go obsolete quickly. The average server, for example, is used for only two to four years before it’s replaced. And network switches often last just three to five years before breakdowns become a common concern.

Those short lifecycles can spell big IT headaches for businesses. Outdated devices are more likely to create security vulnerabilities in the network and can significantly increase the chance of network outages.

You know this — managing old gear is the bane of many an MSP’s existence. But why not turn that problem into a revenue stream by offering end-of-life services, also known as IT asset disposition, to your clients?

Properly disposing of equipment isn’t easy for your clients

To start, a lot of companies may not even have a good idea of what’s on their network, let alone what gear might be past its prime.

If they can identify risky equipment, removing it safely from the network and properly disposing of it can be well beyond their capabilities. After all, you can’t just unplug a server and throw it in the trash.

Ensuring smooth device shutdown and the introduction of new equipment in a way that avoids business and network disruption can be tricky.

What’s more, computer hardware contains pollutants that pose environmental hazards, which means they need to be taken to special recycling centers.

And devices may also contain sensitive data, which could potentially be recovered even if it’s been “erased” from disks. In fact, a recent study shows that more than half of IT pros don’t erase data properly, leaving their companies at risk of privacy and compliance breaches.

For all these reasons, your clients need help with their IT asset disposition (ITAD).

The IT asset disposition opportunity

A recent survey by Cisco revealed that a whopping 73% of companies are using “vulnerable, end-of-life networking equipment” that they should be looking at replacing. Anecdotally, you no doubt have client stories that support those findings. So the market for ITAD services is definitely rich.

Your clients could go out and hire a specialist firm that does ITAD and nothing else. But you’ve got a couple of advantages over that option.

One, you have an established relationship with your clients. If they work with you to dispose of old equipment, they don’t have to find and vet a new company, and they don’t need to pay a separate bill.

Two, you can position your offering as a complete lifecycle service, from equipment purchase all the way through to disposal. It’s a tidy package that offers convenience to your client, and helps you capture a greater share of the client’s wallet.

Three, you already know your client’s network. You have an inventory of their gear and can easily track and flag equipment that’s coming to the end of its useful life. You can do this type of auditing constantly and proactively, something an ITAD firm can’t do. And you can provide enough advance warning that new expenditures can be worked into future budgets.

Even if you don’t want to handle the nitty-gritty of hard drive degaussing and equipment disposal, you can partner with an ITAD company and white label their services. You and your clients still get all the benefits listed above.

“Channel partners that have made a living installing and managing IT gear can now help customers get rid of it as well,” writes TechTarget in an excellent article on the opportunities to be found in ITAD. (The article also mentions several ITAD firms that are open to partnering with MSPs.)

It’s a service line worth considering.

Jennifer Tribe

About Jennifer Tribe

Jennifer is the Director of Content at Auvik Networks, where she manages the company's publishing programs and hosts the Frankly IT podcast. From the Auvik blog and newsletter to ebooks and website content, Jennifer is focused on delivering practical intel that helps IT leaders manage high-performing teams. Trained as a journalist, she has worked in all sorts of content roles from blogger to book publisher.

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