How to track, reassign and safely decommission hardware

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There's a proper way to dispose of old devices as well as reassign existing machines to new users. We'll tell you how.

Electronic waste detail. Discarded computer hardware components on pile under trees with sunny sky

Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto

There's always a newer and faster device that employees want or need to do their jobs. It's easy to shelve an old laptop or phone in a back corner somewhere and deal with it at a later date. However, these old machines are not just dust collectors; they are security risks. Companies need a plan to process these old machines quickly and safely. 

The new dynamic in the mix is the Great Resignation. The more people leaving one job for another, the more frequently IT teams will need to process returned machines and redistribute them. The increase in remote work adds yet another factor to consider. As the pandemic keeps workers at home, it's even trickier to keep track of what equipment is where.

IT teams can use this collection of TechRepublic Premium resources to manage all the details in this process from deciding what equipment to decommission and erasing data as needed to creating a checklist to manage tasks and a spreadsheet to track vital information for each piece of hardware.

Computer Equipment Disposal policy

This policy outlines rules and procedures for properly disposing, discarding and decommissioning computer and IT equipment. The policy also specifies which staff members are responsible for which tasks in the equipment decommissioning process.

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Hardware decommissioning policy

This resource covers the entire process of shutting down old hardware, including the first question: is this machine's lifecycle over? If the answer is yes, the IT department can proceed with the rest of the process. This can include recycling or destroying the device, working with staff to remove company data and updating documentation to reflect the change in status.

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Hardware inventory policy

IT departments have to keep track of more than 20 types of devices ranging from phones to tablets to laptops to servers throughout the device's entire lifecycle. This policy will help you set up an asset tracking database to record all the vital information for each device. You'll also find advice on setting rules for use of devices in this resource.

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Equipment reassignment policy and checklist

Employees come and go all the time and reassigning equipment is a fact of life for IT departments. This checklist spells out that process to ensure that it goes smoothly from removing data to setting up the machine for its new user.

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