Decommissioning Is An Important Part of the IT Lifecycle

 In Infrastructure Assessment

When you do your infrastructure planning, most of your thinking is about adding new equipment and new technology. How much time do you spend thinking about what you’ll do with old equipment that’s no longer needed?

It’s often easiest to simply leave the old equipment in place, but that’s not necessarily the best thing to do with it. When you don’t deprovision old equipment, you expose yourself to the following risks and consequences:

Security threats

Older systems that aren’t supported any longer don’t get any new security patches, even though they may be vulnerable to new security threats. If they’re left active, they’re vulnerable to attacks even if you no longer use them for business functions. And if they’re penetrated, malware or other threats can spread throughout your network. If old systems are shut down, it’s possible for a malicious insider to remove a device (and its data) without it being detected.

Spending

Idle boxes still draw power, so they still have associated electricity and cooling costs. If you accumulate enough unused machines, you may also be paying for additional racks and a bigger computer room than you need. If you don’t transfer licenses from your old machines to the new ones, you may have unnecessary software costs.

Usage

A machine that’s still connected and turned on can still be used. If you don’t shut it down and disconnect it, you may unknowingly have critical processes or data on servers that are no longer being monitored or backed up.

Unfortunately, deciding it makes sense to discard old equipment isn’t as simple as dumping it onto the trash (or recycling) pile. While the old hardware may not be valuable, the data it contains still is. The best way to protect an old disk is to uninstall applications and then use software that repeatedly overwrites the data. The drive should then be physically destroyed, ensuring that data can’t be accessed by anyone.

Just be sure that before you wipe the drive, you create and secure a good backup of its final contents. You may need it for compliance reasons, or you may need to restore that day’s data to support a future project.

Is your infrastructure team successfully managing the complete lifecycle, from making the purchasing decision, through installation and support, and finally decommissioning and destroying an old device? If you could use additional help with infrastructure support, contact the experts at Prescient Solutions. Our IT consulting and managed services help businesses in the Chicago and Schaumburg area effectively leverage their IT technology in support of business objectives.

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