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COCC and Green-Tech Take Out the Trash

Alliance helps banks dispose of PCs and customer data.

In an effort to reduce legal and environmental liabilities surrounding the disposal of obsolete personal computers, printers and other electronic banking devices, software developer COCC (Avon, Conn.) has teamed with Cumberland, R.I.-based risk management solutions provider Green-Tech Assets (GTA) to help banks discard retired equipment in a secure and safe method.

According to Brent Biernat, COCC's assistant vice president for network services, the enterprise processing solutions provider partnered with Green-Tech because GTA is familiar with the security and privacy risks involved in discarding PCs and can protect banks against liability arising from the disposal of technology assets. "A lot of times in the banking industry, what the banks are looking for is someone to get rid of their data," says Biernat.

GTA uses an insurance underwriting platform based on a risk management model to eliminate data from old computers and other equipment. Once the retired equipment is handed over to GTA, the disposal company takes on the responsibility - and the ensuing liability - of ensuring that customer data is cleaned off the hard drives for good, according to Jim Keck, vice president of business development, GTA.

"Green-Tech Assets uses a proprietary risk management model to handle disposal of electronics," says Keck. "Not only do we use an EPA-compliant method of disposal, but we also assume the environmental and legal liability of the transaction."

According to COCC, violating regulations such as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley and Sarbanes-Oxley Acts, among others, can result in fines of up to $15,000 per incident and $25,000 a day until the situation is resolved. This leaves banks in a dilemma if the institutions cannot find a compliant method for disposing of old machines.

Bank of Fall River (Fall River, Mass.) was holding on to old computers and storing them for years because the institution did not know how or where to dispose of the equipment. The computers, printers and other electronic devices were stored in spaces that could be used for offices, according to John Clifford, president and CEO of the bank.

"We were struggling with what to do with the equipment as it started to pile up, and COCC made us aware of a partnership that they have with Green-Tech," says Clifford. "We came to the conclusion that it was a solution to [our] problem."

Clifford says that the bank was concerned about environmental issues regarding the disposal of motherboards, for example, that contain harmful chemicals. But eliminating the worries of deleting data on the machines is what drew the bank to GTA, he says.

"It appealed to me that once the bank transferred ownership of these assets to Green-Tech, it also transfers liability that might be associated with the equipment."

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