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Checklist Decommissioning

A Decommissioning Vendor Selection Checklist

Decommissioning a data center can be a daunting task, and you'll need a trusted partner to help you through it. Choosing a vendor that is a good fit for your company will make the entire project more successful and positive for your personnel. Consider the service offerings, industry reputation, company size, and financial stability of the vendor.

Are they able to give a project plan, data destruction services, resell and recycle retired items, carefully account for all inventories, and produce reliable reports? What about the removal of racks, cables and other auxiliary equipment such as UPS, generators and others? Here are six issues and questions that will help you identify the proper data center decommissioning vendor for you..

On-Site Services

Asset decommissioning involves more than simply unplugging and boxing up unneeded devices. In a live context, the process becomes even trickier. On-site services, you should ask your vendors the following questions:

  • Can they work during off-peak hours in a live data center? Do they have a proven track record of data center work?
  • Is the vendor capable of decommissioning, disassembling, and packaging equipment for shipment?
  • Can they assist you in avoiding costly data breaches by providing on-site data destruction services?
  • Are they able to produce a project plan that includes a detailed breakdown of roles and responsibilities?
  • Do they have written protocols in place to ensure that the live environment that runs your everyday activities is not disrupted?
  • Can they work in a live data center during off-peak hours? Do they have a track record of successful data center work?

Security and Destruction of Data

Why take extra risks when your digital data can be deleted before it leaves your possession? Data breaches have increased in frequency and cost, and Data Center Managers are attempting to handle digital data more proactively by destroying it on-site.

No business is immune, and it is vital for businesses to act. In terms of data destruction, you should ask the following questions of your vendor:

  • What types of data destruction/hard drive erasure services does the business offer? Do they offer data destruction solutions for all types of storage media, including magnetic hard drives and tapes, solid state drives, flash storage, and storage area networks (SANs)?
  • Is their equipment capable of handling the volume you require?
  • What reporting on data destruction is supplied to verify compliance with business and regulatory standards, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)?
  • If data is not destroyed on-site, how are data center IT assets securely removed? How will they ensure an uninterrupted chain of custody?

Compliance – Tracking and Reporting

For regulatory and corporate compliance audit reasons, defined processes demonstrating discipline, due diligence, and best practices in the handling of IT and data center equipment and data destruction are crucial. Your decommissioning partner must demonstrate that processes were followed and data was destroyed responsibly.

If you are subjected to a legislative audit, it is critical to establish that assets and data were disposed of in a way consistent, repeatable, and predictable with respect to regulations.

When chatting with a prospective seller, you'll want to inquire about the following:

  • How are assets managed after they leave the data center environment?
  • Are there any flaws in the chain of custody once assets leave your possession?
  • Is the vendor responsible for ensuring security during transit? How are assets tracked during the resale or recycling process?
  • What documents and reports is the vendor capable of providing in order to meet your corporate and regulatory requirements? For the purpose of inventory reconciliation? How do they ensure that reports are accurate?
  • What evidence can they provide to indicate what happens to your equipment once it leaves the data center?

Resale of Retired Assets

Selling retired assets is an excellent strategy to recoup project expenditures while also lowering your overall cost of IT ownership. To ascertain a vendor's resale knowledge, it is prudent to ask the following questions:

  • Is the seller capable and knowledgeable enough to profitably market a broad range of data equipment?
  • How do they maximize asset resale value?
  • Do they have unique processing capabilities that enable you to extract the maximum amount of value from your equipment?
  • Are they capable of selling both component pieces and whole assets?
  • Do they have a strong secondary market presence? Are they able to offer products in bulk as well as through retail channels?
  • Which international markets do they serve?

Recycling of Obsolete Electronics

Unsold equipment will be recycled. This phase is sometimes forgotten, yet it is critical when managing the eventual disposition of IT equipment. For the last decade, the electronics recycling sector has seen booms and busts. A short Google search for "e-waste exports" or "bankrupt electronic recyclers" reveals the recycling industry's potential for unscrupulous behavior and poor performance.

Assuring that your equipment is recycled responsibly is critical for maintaining your organization's reputation. Ascertain that your seller recycles responsibly and in accordance with all applicable local and regional laws. When it comes to recycling your equipment, you can ask the following questions of your vendor:

  • How are outmoded and damaged pieces of equipment disposed of? Is this being subcontracted? If this is the case, how are subcontractors screened and managed?
  • Is their operation accredited in accordance with industry standards?
  • What type of insurance do they have? Is pollution liability coverage included?
  • What evidence do they have that no hazardous waste is disposed of in a landfill?
  • Can they provide an audit trail to ensure that no e-waste is shipped illegally?

With these questions addressed, you will be able to select the best data center decommissioning partner for your project and assure the security and responsible processing of your equipment and data at your data center, during transit, and at a vendor's site.

Sustainability Objectives

Today's businesses are assessing their environmental impact and identifying ways to demonstrate positive sustainability outcomes. Reusing and recycling old IT assets contributes significantly to the circular economy by reducing natural resource extraction and waste volume. Some businesses offer resale services, while others specialize in recycling. GP provides both services from the same location. Many businesses choose this single-source approach since it eliminates the need for e-waste to be re-shipped from a resale vendor to a recycler, hence reducing the overall carbon footprint of processing IT assets and the risk of data breaches.

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