ICT is of growing importance in the skills sector, and as such it’s important that students are not only taught this effectively but are also given access to tech to allow them to develop their skills ready for the working world.
So, when considering the challenges most schools face when it’s time to replace IT equipment, a few questions may spring to mind – is there enough budget? Can we afford to put the latest tech in place for every student?
In today’s educational spectrum, the answer is probably not. But it’s too risky sticking with old or outdated software that could be vulnerable to cyber-attacks, and hardware that’s had its day isn’t going to provide students with the education they need.
However, there is another option to help combat such challenges that often many schools seem to find a stigma attached to; refurbished or reconditioned devices.
Refurbished IT is often something schools overlook, but with the current circumstances, budget cuts and a whole lot more to consider, more education providers should be considering refurb when it comes to an IT refresh. Especially when you consider that many refurbished devices can be just as good as new IT hardware – and sometimes even better.
What does refurb mean?
In terms of hardware, refurbished IT is often referred to as old or used equipment that’s been reconditioned (or “refurbished”) to a like-new – or as good as – working condition. In some instances, devices may have been returned in order to repair a fault or any cosmetic damage or even sent back as the previous buyer has simply changed their minds.
Once returned, everything from the electrical components to the cosmetics are inspected, tested and examined, any repairs that are required are carried out and the software is reset to factory settings, restoring the device as close to its original state when manufactured as possible. Ensuring that these devices are free from any faults or defects and are in a resalable condition.
The biggest question on everyone’s lips though is why choose refurb over new? We’ve done a bit of digging and highlighted the top 4 reasons why refurbished IT is good for schools.
School funding shortages are the biggest since the 1990’s and are jeopardising the standards of learning and teaching. As such, schools need to be smart with their money now more than ever – and that’s where investment in refurbished devices comes in.
Using school funding in the most cost-effective way is important to ensure students are still gaining those valuable skills they need from their education with the equipment provided.
Reconditioned IT can offer big savings for schools. Many education providers across the UK are finding that they are able to provide students with first-class tech without breaking the bank and are managing to save up to 80%, in some instances, compared to buying ‘as new’ equipment; and are able to save a considerable amount on the purchase of refurb laptops and desktop PCs.
Buying reconditioned equipment allows you to spread your budget further, meaning you can invest in any additional equipment (or even fix that leaking roof you’ve been putting off!) – that’s not a luxury every school has these days.
They’re good quality
There seems to be a misunderstanding within education about refurbished devices. The first thought that springs to mind is that ‘refurbished’ means tatty equipment past its shelf-life and is no use to anyone. But that’s not necessarily true.
Buying IT equipment that’s brand new doesn’t always guarantee there won’t be any technical issues once you’re up and running. Reconditioned hardware goes through thorough testing and detailed assessments by a qualified technician, and in some cases, upgrading the original manufacturers specs, before being provided with up to a one year warranty for peace of mind in the event of a breakdown.
Choosing an established and trusted IT hardware provider is essential when purchasing refurbished devices. As you have no doubt experienced, computer hardware will go wrong and you need to know that you’ll be helped and supported when issues do arise.
It’s environmentally friendly
By purchasing reconditioned hardware, you not only get great value equipment, you’re also helping the environment.
In 2015, approximately 42 million tonnes of electrical waste had been generated worldwide. E-waste that’s been disposed of often has years of life left in it, yet dumped waste contains a range of toxic (and valuable) compounds such as gold, mercury and harmful lead compounds to name a few.
The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE) was introduced by the EU in a bid to promote recycling and minimise waste, but perfectly good e-waste is still finding its way to landfills.
Buying refurbished equipment reduces this negative impact on the environment. Why? By investing in hardware that’s avoided landfill, the lifecycle of the devices becomes lengthened and reduces the amount of new electrical products that are manufactured to replace the old- ultimately reducing your carbon footprint and wastes of energy.
Refurb could earn money back for your school
Schools that have computers, laptops or other IT equipment that are no longer in use or are end of life could be missing a trick by not recycling old assets.
Assets that have no further use for schools could be given to an IT asset disposal provider. There are various asset disposal service providers who will take the kit off your hands and offer rebates for qualifying equipment.
If the equipment is to an appropriate standard, it’ll get stripped back and refurbished to a quality that’s as good as new. So good in fact that your students probably wouldn’t even notice the difference! And just like any other reconditioned hardware, all data will be securely erased before being put back out on the market. So, you’re safe in the knowledge that the refurbished kit is no longer a data bearing asset. Obviously, not all IT asset disposal providers are as honest as they may seem, so it’s always good practice to do your research and make sure you’re using a partner who has the right accreditations and who practices safe and secure recycling processes.
What are the accreditations to be looking for?
Not all equipment is refurbished using the same practices and standards, so in order to be sure that the refurbished equipment is handled securely, it’s useful to look out for these accreditations when choosing your IT provider when it comes to refurb:
Blancco are a global leading data security company that specialise in high level, secure data erasure solutions. They ensure that data bearing assets are securely wiped to avoid any painfully expensive data breaches. Approved and recommended by 18 governing bodies worldwide, they ensure that hard drives are permanently cleared.
Any responsible and trusted facility that carries out the refurbishment of IT equipment should hold an ADISA accreditation. ADISA is an industry recognised accreditation within the UK, ensuring that companies meet certain standards when safely disposing retired assets. The accreditation covers all aspects of the refurbishment process, from the collection and transportation of the equipment to storage and eventual disposal of data. A list of ADISA certified companies can be found here.
ISO/IEC 27001: is an information security management accreditation that demonstrates the organisation is following information security best practices. The accreditation is awarded when an organisation adheres to specific guidelines and covers a range of IT issues such as privacy, confidentiality and cyber security.
The financial rewards for schools opting for refurbished IT can be hugely beneficial, especially in times when most schools are strapped for cash – it could be the difference between purchasing additional equipment with the extra money or missing out on that valuable piece of ed tech that could enhance pupil engagement and aid learning.
Working with a trusted IT partner who offers the right guidance on refurb products will give you more reasons to opt for refurbished equipment rather than being tempted by brand new kit that may stretch your IT budgets and limit your IT refresh programme.