Upgrading equipment, decommissioning apps, or migrating to a new data center can be a risky time in any IT lifecycle, and when you’re decommissioning hardware and moving on you need to be prepared. We’ve done a few of these in our time, so we’ve pulled together a couple of questions to help you navigate the choppy waters.
What’s the scope?
Whether your working with 10 servers at one site or 10,000 at sites all over the globe, defining the scope allows you to set proper expectations throughout the rest of the process.
Who will manage the decom process?
Are you taking this one on yourself, or will you deputize? The person in charge should be detailed and organized, a good manager of people, and knowledgeable about the technology. They should also have an understanding of the customer impact and be ready to manage regular communications between the technical team and primary stakeholders.
What specialized skills does the decom require?
Different environmental configurations require different specialized skills. You know your environment best, so make sure you have the right minds in the room. And, if you don’t have a specialty you need – like data destruction – make sure you bring those skilled people in early so that they can integrate well with the team before jumping into the project.
When do I need to complete this?
The timing of your project will affect more than just the due date. You need to consider your customers’ seasonal peaks and valleys. Oh, and remember those specialized people? Make sure they’re not away on that holiday vacation they’ve had booked since last year. Schedule the decom and data destruction during a slower season when the vital members of your team will all be available.
Where does sensitive data exist in your decommissioned equipment?
Mapping out your vulnerabilities will enable you to set up protections for them. Along with the expert who will provide your data destruction services, make a list of all of the locations that could contain sensitive data, and build a plan to protect it.
What requirements am I under to protect this data?
Whether you’re under HIPPA, PCI, the EU’s Data Protection Act, or just in one of the 35 United States with data destruction laws, you need to know what the local requirements are in your state or country. Use the laws as a benchmark to surpass, but by all means, go above and beyond where you deem prudent.
What happens if I don’t?
You also need to know the consequences for failing to properly dispose of this data. What will be the impact legally, financially, and socially?
What do you plan to do with the decommissioned equipment?
Having a plan ahead of time will help you efficiently move from the initialization to the completion of the project without losing precious time.
Have another area with lower performance requirements that need a boost? Repurpose some of the equipment to make up for the shortfall.
If your equipment still has a good amount of life left in it, you can recoup some of your upgrade expenses by quickly reselling this equipment. Work with a specialist who knows the market well to recover the most value.
If you don’t need the equipment in a different area and there is not enough remaining value to justify resale, make sure that the equipment is responsibly recycled to protect the earth and protect your business from bad press.
What effect will this project have on my customers?
Finally, consider the overall impact on your customers. How does successfully completing this project improve your relationship with your customers? What happens to the relationship if the project fails? After all, everything we do should focus first on the people we serve.
We take these same steps when delivering our data destruction services, and they’ve served us well so far. Have some suggestions of your own? We’d love to hear them!