While few things are completely predictable in business, one thing is certain: at some point your servers and workstations will need to be replaced or upgraded. Ideally these items can be reconfigured and reutilized, but ultimately all equipment will reach the end of its functional lifespan. When this happens, your first thoughts during replacement are likely to include considerations of cost, efficiency, usability and performance. However, of equal importance is deciding what will happen to your old equipment once it has become obsolete or unusable.
Disposing of old servers and workstations is not as simple as leaving them on the curb on trash day. Not only does this equipment usually contain very sensitive and private company information, but is likely manufactured with materials that may be hazardous to the environment. And in some instances, improper disposal of your equipment could be in violation of environmental laws. However, most companies do not have the resources in-house to handle secure disposal of servers and workstations. Companies do exist which offer professional equipment disposal; however, it’s important to be certain these companies are following best practices.
Top consideration for any company is to protect itself and its employees from data theft. Whether you use your servers to store proprietary information, company emails or human resource files, data theft can be disastrous to a company’s reputation and bottom line. Too often people believe deleting a file means it is out of the system, but this is seldom the truth. Professional hardware recyclers wipe clean all information in your servers and workstations through such tactics as data-purging software, electromagnetic destruction, and physical destruction of the hard drive. Ideally, choose a company that not only performs multiple steps of data wiping and parts destruction, but also tracks each and every piece of equipment through the process so you can be sure of thorough security for your organization.
Next, proper disposal of your servers and workstations is vital. First, companies may be legally obligated to dispose of servers and workstations in an environmentally protective manner. Ignoring these laws not only puts a company at risk for fines and lawsuits, it can generate bad publicity in a society more and more aware of the importance of green-living practices. Second, many organizations today voluntarily adopt Green policies as a way of practicing responsible business and environmental stewardship. Again, companies can outsource disposal and recycling of their servers and workstations. However, it is vital to first research the practices of these disposal companies. One way to be certain of proper disposal and recycling is to ensure your disposal company is a member of the E-Steward Initiative. The E-Steward Initiative is a campaign by the Basel Action Network (BAN), a charitable organization focused on reducing toxic disposal worldwide. BAN has received worldwide support from government and environmental entities, as well as corporations like Hewlett-Packard which manufactures HP hardware and HP servers. Members of the E-Steward Initiative have proven to BAN that they follow all e-waste laws, as well as practice environmentally and socially responsible recycling practices.
When your servers and workstations reach the end of their usability don’t forget to treat them with as much consideration as you would new equipment. Though they are out of sight, don’t put them out of mind as their proper disposal is vital to the continuing security of your company.
About the Author: Steve Oono is the VP of Sales for Mojo Systems. They are the leading industry provider of Sun servers, HP servers, IBM, Oracle, and Fujitsu hardware and servers. For more information, please visit http://www.gotomojo.com.