Background

A research-active institution, Portsmouth teaches over 22,000 students, including 3,000 international students. It was again ranked amongst the top 400 universities in the world in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings published in 2013. The independent rankings place Portsmouth in the top two per cent of universities worldwide and among the best in Europe.

Situation

Through its commitment to a low carbon future, Portsmouth was recycling its IT equipment, however its previous service provider, based in Scotland, was unable to meet the University’s carbon reduction goals and security needs. Portsmouth needed to make changes.

 

The ICO has been actively pursuing public sector organisations for lapses in information governance processes. In the 12 months to June 2012, the organisation issued 68 warning notices for data security lapses, up 48 per cent on the previous year. It is also increasing its use of fines. Portsmouth needed to ensure it remained compliant.

 

Portsmouth has aggressive carbon targets, with a reduction goal of 30 per cent by 2016. It also has a number of policies, plans and practices that support this commitment. This includes managing procurement using a sustainable procurement code of practice, the Green Building Challenge (which encourages staff and students to reduce carbon emissions) and encouraging the adoption of recycling, waste reduction and ‘green’ meetings within the University’s community.

 

The University also operates an Environmental Management system, and is ISO 14001 certified, which helps control its impact on the environment. This ensures compliance with environmental legislation and regulation and creates a programme for continual performance improvement.

 

As part of this process, Portsmouth wanted to see their old IT assets put to good use – not simply destroyed. The University’s security architect and its sustainability lead worked closely with the IT department to co-develop policies that ensure end of life and redundant IT assets are disposed of in an efficient and environmentally-friendly way.

Solution

Having worked with Stone Group for many years and as part of the University’s sustainability focus, Stone Group was asked to demonstrate its recycling capabilities with a view to provide a data wiping and recycling service. Stone Group operates its own in-house recycling and refurbishment facility, fully licensed by the Environment Agency, and is ADISA certified to distinction level against the enhanced ADISA ITAD Standard – the only hardware manufacturer globally to have achieved this exclusive status. Alongside this, every device that goes into Stone Group’s facility is fully managed to the ISO 27001 standard and has its data completely wiped in accordance with Impact Level (IL) 3 and Blancco regulations, for which it is a Blancco Gold Partner.

 

Having previously won a desktop tender to replace outdated IT equipment and, after a six month tender process, the University awarded Stone Group a recycling contract. With the help of Stone Group, Portsmouth now receives an efficient and secure door-to-door recycling service that not only meets its carbon reduction needs, but echoes its own zero landfill policy within its recycling and waste management scheme.

 

In addition to a regular data wiping and recycling service, the University was keen to provide its staff, students and friends of the University with the opportunity to purchase redundant kit.

 

Staff in many organisations tend to have the connotation that the old IT kit should be made available to them once the company decides to invest in new IT equipment. But due to data security regulations, many organisations do not allow this to happen in fear that data will be leaked into the public domain and with ill-informed expectations that the associated costs of refurbishment will be too high.

 

In order to enable the University to sell the recycled IT equipment, Stone Group created a bespoke version of its e-commerce portal, known as Encore, available only to the University’s registered users, offering the equipment for sale at 30 per cent less than market resale value. Once the sensitive data has been securely disposed of, using industry leading data erasure software from Blancco, devices are restored to factory settings and uploaded to the portal for a set period of 30 days. Stone Group is Blancco accredited to HMG IA 5 and holds both ADISA and ISO 27001 certifications, ensuring the data wiping/destruction methods employed are suitable for the classification of data and media type.

 

The scheme is also offered to local schools with little budget but in need of newer technology. To ensure only students and staff of the University are benefiting from the service, each must have a university IP address to register.

“We pride ourselves on our environmental sustainability goals and see the recycling of IT hardware as a key part to achieving this. Being able to offer this equipment to our staff and students through this simple portal is a natural step in supporting quality education throughout the University community. No one is really offering this service to their staff and students yet and we’re happy to be able to demonstrate what can be achieved.

We used to offer old equipment to staff on an adhoc basis, but it was tricky to manage and process payments. This portal really takes the headache out of it and makes it a more consistent, standard offering to staff and students.

Stone Group provides a secure service, and from speaking with them and seeing the recycling plant, we are confident that our IT equipment is both securely transported and processed.

We’re starting to see some higher end equipment come through for recycling, so hope to see a lot of interest in this and increased success for the portal in the future.”

— Robbie Walker, Security Architect