Are your company’s data decommission policies outdated?

For a variety of reasons, a decommissioning policy is essential. It assists you in adhering to local, state, and federal regulations. It streamlines your IT department’s workflow and, most crucially, protects you from an expensive data breach. If your company’s data decommissioning policies are out of date, keep reading, and we’ll walk you through the best practices for creating one. New technologies aren’t the only thing that might make your conventional security measures obsolete when it comes to IT decommissioning policies.


Managing a data decommissioning policy is a systematic strategy to manage the series of processes that IT assets must go through as they reach the end of their useful lives. These rules are critical since they allow businesses to demonstrate compliance to auditors while also ensuring that their clients’ privacy is protected. Decommissioning policies not only strengthen reliability and productivity throughout the business, but with the expansion of cloud-based data, they have become a need.



Developing a data decommissioning policy: best practices




The company’s IT administration must begin by gathering precise data from servers, client workstations, printers, routers, switches, and other devices. The device name, IP address, manufacturer, device model, processor, RAM, and storage information will all be included in the IT asset inventory. To replace and reproduce the resources required to meet workload demands, precise inventory documentation is required.


It is critical to appoint a project manager with experience dealing with key decision makers and stakeholders at this stage of the planning process. It is recommended that an external expert be assigned to this function if the in-house team lacks considerable experience with decommissioning data or data centers.


When designing a decommissioning policy, it is important to create a budget. With an auditor on-site, a reliable chain of custody is essential for providing an end-to-end visibility record of what was accomplished, when, and by whom throughout the IT asset disposition process. Every safety process, as well as the many stages of removal or destruction, should be thoroughly documented so that everyone knows exactly who is responsible for what and when. Perform any necessary background checks on any external project managers, auditors, or IT asset disposition company (ITAD) workers to ensure that no data is stolen or mishandled.



After the planning and processes have been developed, the actual decommissioning process can begin. To begin, make a complete duplicate of all of your data, and take note to back up your data carefully! Disconnect the device from the network after doing so. During the decommissioning process, deactivate all firewalls, subnetworks, and power to all devices. Remember to keep track of all software licenses linked with the server.


If you use third-party contractors to manage your end-of-life IT assets, it is critical that you demand that they document every stage of the decommissioning process, including who did what and when to guarantee that your data is safe and that you have a verifiable written record in the event of a breach.



It is time to dispose of your data once it has been entirely decommissioned. Disconnect hard disk drives (HDDs) from storage and storage area networks (SANs), and either reconfigure them or remotely disable them for the maximum level of security. Any decommissioned servers can be destroyed completely via an ITAD or recycling firm. You can also destroy them in-house with data destruction technologies, which is the most secure and cost-effective option.

The drive’s chain of custody is drastically reduced when data is destroyed in-house, allowing you to recycle the drive parts. Drives are essential to recycling companies because they include valuable metals and steel. Make a note of any important details for auditing purposes, such as the drive’s unique barcode, certificate of deletion or destruction, and the type of destruction utilized.



Data and server decommissioning do not have to be time-consuming and difficult procedures. While these methods do not cover every scenario that your organization or data center can face (because each one is different), having basic guidance like this is a great place to start, as it may serve as the foundation for your decommissioning policy. Regulations are expanding and growing more stringent over the world, with significant fines routinely imposed for noncompliance. According to IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach report in 2020, the global impact of a data breach on a company averages $3.9 million. You may reduce your organization’s risks of falling prey to the next breach by maintaining a comprehensive decommissioning plan and understanding each point of contact who manages your IT assets.

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