The Hidden Risks of Orphaned Corporate Devices
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The Hidden Risks of Orphaned Corporate Devices

Mitch Black By Mitch Black September 7, 2023

Categories: Managed Mobility Mobile Workforce

Technology. That’s it. That is what makes the world turn and that’s what everyone relies on to excel and succeed in day-to-day jobs. When it comes to the latest device drops, consumers and businesses are on a perpetual quest to stay ahead of the curve. Whether it’s the allure of a phone with one more camera lens than last year’s model or a laptop so thin it defies the laws of physics, the turnover rate for devices has hit warp speed.  In this race for innovation and efficiency, there is a problem that tends to go unnoticed. What happens to all of the old devices? They may sit in a drawer or get improperly discarded but either way there is a risk most don’t think about. While creating your own personal museum of vintage devices seems like the best idea, there are hidden risks to these orphaned corporate devices.  

Today, let’s do a deep dive into the risks and what you can do about this ongoing issue.  

Hidden Risk 1: Electronic Waste A Global Crisis

Older Model iPhones
Older Model iPhones

Orphaned corporate devices are usually not on the top of everyone’s mind. So here’s a staggering statistic – electronic waste, or e-waste, is one of the fastest-growing waste streams globally. In recent years, we have witnessed an explosion in the production and disposal of electronic devices. From outdated laptops to obsolete smartphones, these discarded gadgets collectively contribute to an environmental problem of epic proportions. 

The production and disposal of e-waste is not only causing environmental harm but also endangering human health. Many electronic devices contain hazardous materials like lead, mercury, and cadmium, which can leach into soil and water if not properly managed. This poses a significant risk to both the environment and communities living near landfills or recycling facilities. As a result, the impact of e-waste on the environment cannot be underestimated. 

Hidden Risk 2: Security

While the environmental impact of orphaned corporate devices is substantial, there’s another layer of risk that often goes overlooked – security. Old devices that are not properly managed pose a serious threat to data security. 

Hackers and data thieves are well aware of the potential goldmine hidden in neglected devices. Without proper disposal or data wiping procedures, a company is essentially leaving the door wide open for security breaches. 

Consider this scenario: A company replaces its outdated iPhones with new, more secure models. However, instead of disposing of the old devices responsibly, they sit in a storage closet, forgotten and unsecured. These orphaned corporate devices contain a wealth of sensitive information – client data, financial records, and potentially confidential company documents. 

Without a device recovery plan in place, this scenario becomes real life for many companies.

Hidden Risk 3: The Costly Consequences of Orphaned Corporate Devices

Costly Consequences
Costly Consequences

When employees depart with corporate-owned devices in tow, the consequences extend far beyond the initial device cost. Consider these scenarios: 

  • Financial Loss: The obvious and immediate impact is the financial loss incurred when a costly device goes missing. Replacing these devices can be a significant drain on a company’s resources, particularly when it happens frequently.  
  • Legal and Reputation Concerns: It’s not just the data getting out that is the risk. Sensitive information getting exposed can lead to legal repercussions and reputational damage.  
  • Lack of Visibility: It also isn’t just about recouping costs; it’s also about maintaining visibility into your corporate technology ecosystem. When devices go missing, it can be challenging to track them, manage software solutions, and ensure compliance with protocols.  

Hidden Risk 4: Unaccounted Costs

The lack of visibility into the whereabouts and usage of corporate devices can translate into painful costs that accumulate silently but steadily. Here’s how: 

  • Wasted Resources: When devices are unaccounted for, it’s easy to over-purchase or underutilize resources. Companies may unnecessarily buy replacement devices or software licenses, leading to inflated expenses. 
  • Productivity Loss: Employees who inherit responsibilities for unrecovered devices may experience downtime or reduced productivity as they adapt to new tools and configurations. 
  • Compliance Headaches: Compliance with industry regulations and data privacy laws becomes challenging when devices are outside the company’s control. Failure to meet compliance standards can result in fines and penalties. 

Eliminate unaccounted costs with a proper device recovery program.

The Rise of ESG: Environmental, Social and Governance

In recent years, Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) practices have gained significant traction in the corporate world. ESG represents a set of criteria that investors and potential customers use to evaluate a company’s ethical and sustainability performance. A growing number of investors are putting their money into companies that prioritize ESG factors. 

This shift toward ESG isn’t merely a passing trend but a fundamental change in how businesses operate and are perceived. Companies with strong ESG practices not only benefit from improved brand reputation but also appeal to a broader customer base. In a world increasingly focused on sustainability, neglecting ESG principles can be detrimental to a company’s bottom line.  

You can learn more about ESG and understand how orphaned corporate devices can be harmful at What is ESG? |

The Solution: Protecting Your Company and the Planet with Proper Device Recovery Processes

So, how can businesses protect themselves from the hidden risks of orphaned corporate devices? It starts with implementing robust device recovery and recycling processes. Companies should clearly define these processes, communicate them effectively to employees, and diligently enforce them. Here are essential steps to consider: 

  • Clear Policies: Develop and communicate policies that outline the company’s ownership of devices and the procedures for returning them upon departure. 
  • Remote Management: Implement mobile device management (MDM) solutions that allow for remote tracking, locking, and data wiping capabilities. This ensures control even when devices are no longer physically accessible. 
  • Employee Education: Educate employees about their responsibilities regarding corporate devices and the importance of returning them. 
  • Data Erasure: Before disposing of any electronic device, ensure that all data is securely wiped. This can be achieved through professional data erasure software or services to guarantee that no sensitive information remains on the device. 
  • Responsible Recycling: Partner with reputable electronics recycling companies that adhere to strict environmental and ethical standards. These companies can ensure that devices are getting properly recycled, reducing the environmental impact of e-waste. 
  • ESG: Embrace ESG principles as a fundamental part of your corporate strategy. By doing so, your company not only meets the expectations of environmentally conscious investors and customers but also contributes to a more sustainable future. 

The Best Solution for Orphaned Corporate Devices

The best solution is to partner with a managed mobility service (MMS) provider who can manage your devices for you. One that can provide a full lifecycle management for devices and maintain a detailed inventory of them while providing you a platform to track, manage, and report on costs.  

In conclusion, the hidden risks of orphaned corporate devices extend beyond the immediate concerns of environmental impact. Neglecting proper device recovery and recycling processes can lead to significant security vulnerabilities and damage a company’s wallet or even reputation. By adopting responsible practices and aligning with an MMS provider, businesses can mitigate these risks while also making a positive contribution to the planet. 

The world is watching, and it’s time to step up and make a difference. We can help.

If you would like to see how Motus can help address your specific mobility and logistics pain points, don’t hesitate to contact us today! Luckily, our team will gladly provide you with further information and support. As part of our offerings, we provide a self-guided demo that allows you to explore dashboard at your own pace. In addition to that, we offer a comprehensive range of resources, including informative articles, guides, and case studies, which can provide valuable insights and help you make informed decisions about managing your mobility and logistics effectively.

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