Reclamere: Safe, Secure Data Disposal for Unwanted Computers
At work, at school, at home and at play, people from all walks of life are doing more with their Apple and PC computers than ever before thanks to seemingly nonstop advances in computer technology. But as welcome as these advances may be, they also signal an increase in the number and frequency of discarded computers-and more opportunities for data theft.
Reclamere, a secure IT asset management company, has found a profitable home in this niche. Reclamere helps businesses and organizations dispose of old computer equipment in a manner that’s secure from a data protection standpoint-as well as being environmentally friendly. The Tyrone, PA-based company develops and delivers certified digital data destruction programs and assists with resale of pre-owned computer equipment.
Although many different business types can benefit from Reclamere’s services, their programs are targeted primarily at the health care, banking and education market segments. “We spent much time and money finding buyers of bulk computer equipment,” says Angie Singer Keating, founder and vice president of compliance and security. “Then, most important, we performed due diligence on these international buyers to make sure their facilities are environmentally responsible, that no child labor is used and that they are doing with the material exactly what they say they will. This level of diligence is incredibly rare in our industry.”
One Opportunity Leads to a Host of Others
Singer Keating started the Reclamere in 2001 after she watched a show on computer recycling on the Discovery channel. She quickly realized that secure, permanent destruction of confidential data was a serious issue facing consumers. Reclamere’s data destruction is a proprietary process that meets both the Department of Defense (DOD) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s requirements.
“In fact, our process exceeds DOD standards,” Singer Keating says. “We test 100 percent of all drives to ensure the data is gone forever. We also provide on-site destruction at the client’s premises. This provides our customers with a transparent process that they can witness personally.”
In a welcome twist of opportunity, Reclamere’s high standards in data destruction have led to a related expertise-data recovery-which the company offers to customers throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. “We are often able to retrieve data even after many others have tried and failed,” Singer Keating says. “Our data recovery services have led us to new opportunities in IT risk assessment and computer forensic services. I’m also proud to announce that we just got our first federal appointment to provide expert services in a federal criminal defense litigation matter.”
Sometimes “No” Is the Best Answer
When Reclamere first approached Ben Franklin Technology Partners (BFTP) for funding, the company was turned down-and that was the best thing that could have happened, according to Singer Keating. “It was difficult to hear, but it made us so much stronger,” she says. “The rejection forced us to focus, be accountable to the metrics we established and set reasonable but attainable goals. BFTP didn’t just say no-they gave us advice and encouraged us to come back and apply for funding again after we corrected the issues they pointed out. They have been an invaluable resource.”
BFTP did eventually invest in Reclamere, awarding a total of $262,000 over three rounds of funding-not to mention additional support in the form of marketing research, business mentoring, financial analysis, networking opportunities and technical assistance. “There are now 39 jobs in Tyrone and Pittsburgh that exist largely due to the assistance we received from BFTP,” Singer Keating says.
She adds that BFTP is a great resource for early stage companies in general. “Because the failure rate is so high for new businesses, banks are very reluctant to put up money, and venture capitalists only want to talk to you if you can guarantee a tenfold return in three years,” she says. “BFTP uses a different criteria set to evaluate the businesses it funds, and it then holds the businesses accountable with metrics, solid ties and continuous follow-up.”
Overall, Singer Keating says that she and her fellow employees at Reclamere are “huge fans” of BFTP, and she calls the partnership “the model for how business assistance should be done.”
Keynotes June, 2008
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