How to Perform Secure and Compliant Data Center Decommissioning?

Posted by The Team at CXtec on Apr 20, 2023 9:09:42 AM

If you've decided to decommission your data center, it is vital to do it right. Proper decommissioning is necessary to ensure a...

If you've decided to decommission your data center, it is vital to do it right. Proper decommissioning is necessary to ensure a smooth transition and protect sensitive business data stored in your data center equipment. It also helps you avoid legal and financial problems. But, data center decommissioning is a challenging process. It includes various tasks like inventory audits, technical de-installation, secure data wiping, logistics planning, and value recovery. Hence, creating a proper decommissioning plan is crucial to quickly and securely retire your old IT assets.

Outlined below are five key strategies that you can adopt for easy, secure, and compliant data center decommissioning:

1. Perform comprehensive on-site inventory audits

Start your data center decommissioning project by creating a detailed project scope. This involves tasks like setting a budget and deciding the project completion timeframe. Once you've got that sorted, closely audit all your data center equipment to see what needs to be replaced. You can use an automated network discovery tool to find assets that are outdated or not working well. For more accurate inventory audits, consider bringing in data center decommissioning experts. They can give you a detailed list of data center assets that need replacement. They can also assist you in the timely execution of your project by taking care of important activities, such as: 

  • Defining roles and responsibilities of every project member
  • Creating a schedule for hardware removal
  • Sourcing necessary decommissioning tools, including shredders and degaussers
  • Ensuring all the data and power backup systems are setup properly
  • Sending downtime alerts to affected stakeholders

2. Maximize data security through NIST and DoD-approved techniques

After making a final list of assets that need replacement and checking your data backups, you can start disconnecting your data center equipment. For storage devices, you must set clear guidelines for secure data deletion. Decide whether to erase, degauss, or physically destroy storage media based on the data it holds and if you will reuse it. You can use a certified data wiping tool or hire a trustworthy ITAD company for secure on-site data destruction. Just make sure your chosen tool or vendor uses NIST and DoD-approved techniques for data deletion. If any of the removed assets need off-site data sanitation, don't forget to ask for Certificates of Destruction (CoD) from your ITAD partner. These certificates will help you confirm the secure eradication of data and avoid any compliance issues at a later stage.

3. Ensure secure asset packing and transportation

Once you've removed your data center assets, it's time to dispose of them securely. This involves packing your assets safely and taking them to an off-site disposal facility. You'll need enough space in your company for packing, and you should label every IT gear properly to track whether it will be refurbished, recycled, or physically destroyed. To avoid damage and theft during transportation:

  • Use secure packing methods like foam-in-place
  • Use GPS-enabled vehicles and RFID tags 

If you're working with an ITAD vendor, make sure they pack and transport your assets securely and let you track them at every step of the journey. For assets that you plan to reuse in your organization, plan a proper hand-off protocol before sending them for refurbishment. Coordinate with other relevant departments in your company to keep them informed about the availability of such assets. 

4. Recover maximum value from end-of-life or surplus assets

After disposing of your data center assets, engage with your IT and finance teams to ensure they have a detailed record of the retired assets. You can then work with certified ITAD vendors to get the most value out of your retired gear. The vendors can suggest the best course of action - refurbish, resell, or recycle - for each piece of IT asset based on its age and condition. They can help you refurbish and resell reusable assets for the best possible returns. For assets that can't be reused, they can help you dispose of them ethically and securely to avoid compliance risks. These vendors also provide a secure chain of custody to help you avoid data breaches during asset disposal.

5. Perform responsible recycling

Illegal dumping of old IT hardware is a big reason for the increasing global e-waste. Around 53 million tonnes of e-waste is generated annually, but only 20% is recycled correctly. Hence, when you want to get rid of your old data center equipment, you should look for ways to recycle them properly and ethically. Working with an ITAD vendor who's R2v3-certified is the best way to discard retired IT gear responsibly. These vendors use eco-friendly recycling methods and give you certificates of data destruction. This helps you avoid legal issues and ensure environmental safety. 

Simplify Your Data Center Decommissioning with CXtec

Picking the right partner for your IT asset disposition can help you get success in your data center decommissioning project. With almost 40 years of experience in the field, CXtec could be the ideal partner to help you securely and quickly get rid of your old IT equipment. We make the entire decommissioning process simple by providing the following capabilities:

  • Robust data security

We use secure data sanitization methods (NIST and DoD-approved) to keep your sensitive business information safe while disposing of your equipment.

  • One-stop solution 

From physical asset removal and secure data wiping to asset packing and transportation, we provide holistic services that match your unique needs. 

  • Global availability 

We provide easy, secure, and compliant decommissioning services with consistent delivery and best-in-class results, regardless of location.

  • Value recovery 

CXtec gives you a fair market value for your used hardware. Our global customer base means you can resell your old equipment at the best rates to recover maximum value.

To learn more about our data center decommissioning services, visit our website.

Overhaul your IT infrastructure with a trusted brand for refurbished hardware