Congratulations on your decision to migrate to the cloud. The benefits — including increased flexibility, affordable disaster recovery, and shifting from CAPEX to OPEX — will soon have you wondering why you didn’t make the switch sooner.
However, before you spin up your virtual machines, lift-and-shift your applications, and provision your virtual networks, you need to begin the process of eliminating unneeded IT assets from your data center.
Where do you begin? IT asset disposition (ITAD) is the step-by-step method by which companies get rid of their unneeded or obsolete technology in a responsible, environmentally friendly way. After carefully making the decision to deploy your IT environment in the cloud, engaging in ITAD will likely be your next step.
An ITAD strategy for your data center should include these steps:
- Identify the obvious (and not so obvious) IT resources to dispose of
Some materials — such as servers with hard drives — may have residual data that is worth a fortune to the right (or wrong) people. A key part of ITAD is refurbishing and reselling certain assets, but not at the sacrifice of data security. Retaining $100 is great, but NOT if it costs $1 million because of a data breach. An experienced ITAD vendor (more on this in Step 4) will ensure that all your recycled or resold assets will go through a rigorous data sanitation process.
Other assets such as racks, wires, cables, cabinets and monitors do not have much secondary market value. These need to be disposed of responsibly, as they may contain hazardous material, such as mercury in CRT tubes, hexavalent chromium in cables and housings, and so on. Hazardous waste contained in improperly disposed of technology could potentially seep into groundwater, contributes to growing e-waste problem worldwide, and increases the overall carbon footprint of your business.
- Weigh the pros and cons of off-site vs. on-site data destruction
On-site data wiping is generally more expensive and results in a lengthier overall process. Because your ITAD partner must gather all the necessary equipment, and stay at your business until the data removal is done, it likely will cost more. However, you as an organization deserve peace of mind. If your business absolutely needs to oversee the data destruction on site, most ITAD partners will oblige.
Off-site data wiping is likely to be cheaper and faster. While you probably won’t be around to watch the process, you’ll receive an auditable verification that your unwanted IT assets were:
- Picked up and shipped — under lock and key — to the ITAD facility
- Data sanitized, recycled and resold or destroyed, as applicable
- Author your data center decommissioning and ITAD plan
ITAD services for data center decommissioning should be thought of as a project, not a never-ending process. It needs to have a firm start and end date to realize the cost and complexity savings of the cloud and avoid erosion of ROI.
- Find an ITAD partner to manage the entire project
The cost savings of decommissioning your data center — and no longer maintaining it — can be significant. But these savings could be undermined by improper IT asset removal. The best ITAD service providers will:
- conduct environmentally responsible disposal
- properly recycle used assets
- deliver maximum return on resold assets
- ensure complete data security — quickly and efficiently.
Note that the ITAD business includes many vendors who are specialists in different aspects of the process, such as recycling or refurbishing assets, but not in all of them. We recommend choosing a single trusted partner with specialists in all areas and a holistic view of IT asset disposition.
Check out our previous blog post on why one is better than many when it comes to ITAD partners.
Are you currently moving to the cloud? Do you have ITAD-related questions that we didn’t cover in this post? We’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below.