IT departments are understaffed, and it shows
So many things are challenging for corporations today, from the economy in general to fuel prices, shipping costs, and the skilled labor shortage. The list is long, and businesses are feeling the pinch. One department that is really feeling the effects is IT. As companies are understaffed in their IT departments, retired assets are often neglected, and even new procurements are sometimes overlooked. In addition, staff turnover is high, leaving tracking and documentation of hardware assets lower on the priority list. So many factors led to this employment situation, but the pandemic, in particular, caused a snowball effect that grew rapidly, and that snowball has gotten too large to ignore.
Going remote led to lasting changes
For many IT departments, the challenges started with all the workers suddenly going remote. IT departments scrambled to provide everyone with the equipment they needed in a very short time frame. Upgrade it, purchase it, whatever was necessary to keep the business running smoothly. Set the old equipment aside and deal with it later. It is later now, and it’s time to take care of that obsolete equipment. Except, where is it? What is the most secure way to handle the disposition of retired assets?
Now add to that the skilled labor shortage in IT. Perhaps you’ve heard of the “Great Resignation,” or as the US Chamber of Commerce said, “The Great Reshuffle.” Many of the workers who were handling the equipment changes early in the pandemic have now left the company. Oh, by the way, was anyone keeping an accurate inventory of all that equipment moving here and there or which storage area that retired laptop went to? Was the equipment tracked, or were things moving too fast to take time for that?
Downsizing business offices
Some businesses chose to downsize their offices now that many workers are remote full-time or part-time. In many cases, when all the papers were signed, and the employees moved to the new location, the former office was left like a ghost town. For other companies, the employees received new equipment in order to work remotely, and now those same companies are working on a hybrid schedule, and they are finding employees have redundant hardware assets. Decisions must be made to keep the most relevant equipment and retire the obsolete. All too often, the obsolete equipment gets sent to storage – out of sight, out of mind. And with a shortage of experienced IT employees to handle the inventory and tracking needs, equipment is truly forgotten and left to become worthless, while the data on that equipment remains in a state of compromise. You can see how what seems like a great solution can quickly be built up to a significant and overwhelming challenge.
The new normal, with fewer IT workers
Now that businesses seem to be settling into a “new normal,” the lack of skilled IT workers is becoming apparent. Workers trained in IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) are in short supply, and data security may be at risk while the recovery of obsolete equipment is postponed. To preserve your ITAM program’s integrity, your organization may need to hire outside vendors to inventory equipment found in storage, identify current assets, and possibly remove and replace printers and other network assets. On the plus side, spending the time to find a trustworthy and certified ITAD service provider for data destruction processes will protect your company data, client data, and, ultimately, your brand reputation. This is especially the case for educational facilities, law firms, hospitals, and banks, where there are further data security and privacy regulations to keep in mind.
Bridge the gap
For businesses affected by this labor shortage, a first thought might be to simply increase the hiring of the skilled labor needed. Or utilize in-house employees but lose efficiencies where their skills are better used in another way that is core to your business. Either way, skilled ITAD workers aren’t trained and ready to go overnight. It takes time to build a talented team of skilled workers. Many businesses need to augment their talent base with additional resources to handle overwhelming IT situations. With the number of remote workers today, it’s more important than ever for businesses to get their hands around asset inventory, data security, and the destruction of their retired equipment. You must find a way to bridge that gap.
Scenes like the one depicted here are becoming more and more common for IT professionals, especially in cases of IT new hires, IT department promotions, and company mergers and acquisitions.
Sipi AR’s on-site services are here to help!
We can melt that snowball you’ve been left with, help you get your arms around the inventory, and handle all the necessary details to build a solid foundation for the successful future of your ITAM program.
Out of sight does not mean off the books; there is a financial impact to having your retired assets simply sitting in a storage closet. Re-marketing assets frees up licenses, which in turn frees up funds. Software is often licensed on a per-user basis. When licensed equipment is retired, and new equipment is added, licenses are not always carried over. Sipi OSS can help ensure accounting for those licenses, so your business isn’t paying for more licenses than you need. Additionally, the storage space for all that equipment has a cost associated with it. Instead, wouldn’t you rather use that space for its intended purpose?
Nina Nielsen, a business development leader at Sipi, recently shared a story about a hospital that needed OSS. You can imagine how busy a hospital has been, particularly in the last few years. This hospital had 200 areas (closets, maintenance rooms, storage rooms) filled with potentially obsolete equipment and new equipment that had never been deployed. Although Sipi did not ultimately provide ITAD services, Nina offered valuable feedback, to the hospital administration, on what needed to be done to remain in compliance with data security.
Nina recalled another instance where a large corporation moved their corporate offices and left behind five buildings full of everything their employees didn’t need in their new location. Working over six months, Sipi OSS combed through all the drawers, cabinets, closets, and office spaces to record asset data. When it was all said and done, the client had an organized inventory of assets left behind so that they could decide the next steps. The OSS team followed the predetermined statement of work to redeploy, recycle, or destroy assets. Once the offices were decommissioned, the buildings were ready for another tenant.
Where many clients have their own IT technician in the data center who is able to pull decommissioned hardware, Business Development Leader Joe Pothier, who works with the leasing industry, says Sipi OSS is most often called in to deal with “dead hardware, a.k.a. end-of-life assets”. Disposal of end-of-life assets is governed heavily by the EPA and certifying agencies such as e-Stewards and R2. Sipi is certified in both e-Stewards and R2, proving that our recycling processes comply with industry, government, and environmental standards, which carries on to the clients we serve. We have the security, manpower, equipment, and certifications required to dispose of decommissioned hardware safely.
A Lot to Think About
What is the risk in hiring someone who is not vetted and secure? Mishandling data security can lead to significant fines, as covered in this article from SC Media. One major bank mentioned in the article paid a $60 million settlement, and that data breach and resultant fine were largely due to hiring a company that was neither vetted nor secure when they decommissioned hardware.
There are many logistics involved when retiring equipment, and it might not be something you think of when it comes time to replace servers or other hardware. We help bridge the gap by providing trained technicians to supplement your IT staff in processes associated with ITAD.
Expert partners to help bridge the gap
Angie Bedolla, OSS Group Manager, pointed out that hiring on-site service technicians ensures a secure ITAD process from the destruction of hardware to the packing of assets for transportation to a Sipi facility for further processing.
Sipi OSS is a secure solution and a trusted service provider when it comes to data security. Our technician arrives at your facility, creates a serialized asset inventory, wipes, crushes, or shreds the data-bearing devices, then packs and ships assets to our facilities for final disposition. Our technicians ensure no data leaves your facility intact, by providing a clear and traceable chain of custody in the form of a serialized report of your assets. In addition, certificates necessary to comply with industry, regulatory, and environmental standards can be downloaded from our online customer portal following final disposition.
In addition to providing data security, and reporting, our on-site services provide a cost-effective alternative to utilizing current staffing. The costs of hiring our technicians are communicated up-front, allowing for budget management. In addition, if contracted, on-site service fees can be offset by proceeds from remarketing efforts.
Working with an expert partner can make a big difference when it comes to data security. Professionals like those at Sipi OSS have the services and expertise to help you move forward despite ongoing market challenges. Let us help manage your snowball, so it doesn’t become an avalanche.
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