When you’re ready to decommission your company’s servers, it has to be done correctly. Work with an expert who understands that data security and environmental protections are just as important as the overall cost. 

The best server decommissioning service provider is going to help you stay within your budget but also ensure you’re not at risk of lawsuits, government fines, and legal fees months or years later. Finding that provider isn’t a decision you should rush.

Start by Knowing the Steps to a Server Decommissioning

Before servers are decommissioned, you must first identify and plan the best path forward. You cannot take servers offline before new equipment is ready to take over. That means installing and testing the new servers to ensure the transition goes smoothly.

Jot down all of the information for the equipment that’s being decommissioned. You need an inventory and the serial numbers. Find their licenses and make sure any contracts and licenses are canceled.

Back up everything and disconnect the server from your network. Once that’s done, you can remove any software, firewalls, subnets, etc. At that point, the server can be removed from the rack.

Data destruction must take place through the use of data wiping software and tools, possibly magnets, or physical shredding. Depending on your business there may be specific criteria to meet, as the data removal for a retailer is different to that of a hospital.

Make sure you have stored, secured files detailing the processes that were taken and the electronics that were decommissioned. Keep this file secure in a fireproof safe. Once you’ve done this, you’re ready to recycle, refurbish, or destroy the old servers and equipment.

It’s a lot of work, and if done incorrectly, your company could be hit with massive fines, class action lawsuits, and damage to your reputation. Working with an expert in data destruction and server decommissioning projects is the best way to protect your company and its shareholders.

Understand That Your Project Isn’t One-Size-Fits-All

Data center decommissioning projects are never one-size-fits-all. You might hear from an associate that their decommissioning cost X amount, but don’t count on that being the same for you. It could be more or less, depending on what you need vs. what your associate’s company needed.

The PII your company stores, the business you’re in, and the equipment you have all play a role in what you need to do. If you’re not certain, it’s not a project you should be guessing at and hoping you’ve done the right things.

This is why it’s so essential to work with an expert in decommissioning projects. They’re experts in U.S. regulations and laws. They know the different levels of protection that companies need, whether it’s a hospital or a military agency, and they provide you with documentation that proves you did everything required of you.

As you start researching companies, be upfront with them about the level of data destruction you need. If they’re not skilled in 

List Your Company’s Requirements

The companies you call need to know your requirements. Before you start emailing or making calls, prepare answers to these questions.

  • How much can you afford to spend? Have a range of what you’re hoping to spend and what your absolute maximum that you can’t afford to exceed is.
  • How many servers are involved? Are they physical, virtual, or a mix of both?
  • What level of data security and compliance regulations are required? If you’re not sure, the companies should be able to guide you. If they can’t, move on to another company.
  • Will you also need services like asset recovery, data migration, or relocation with secure logistics?

Start Evaluating Your Options

Once you have the questions you want to ask, you need to start narrowing down the list of possible providers. There are hundreds of ITAD and data center decommissioning companies out there, and you need to evaluate each one using these criteria.

How much experience do they have? Do they have a positive reputation? 

How long has the company been in business? If they’re just starting out and haven’t completed a data center decommissioning project before, they may not have the experience you need to protect your company. 

You also want to look into an established company’s track record. A quick search of news sites can help you find out if there are any issues with a specific company. Read reviews. Those are the two best ways to look at a company’s reputation. 

What accreditations and certifications do they hold? 

Look for AAA NAID, e-Stewards, ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and ISO 45001. If possible R2 and SOC 2 Type II are others to look for. Both e-Stewards and R2 require any data destruction to follow NIST 800-88 guidelines. AAA NAID is important for data privacy. As you look into the certifications, find out what level they hold, too. There are different levels.

Do they offer additional services? What other services are available? 

You might find it handy to have a company that also provides e-recycling for equipment that’s broken and has no resale value.

How easy is it to reach them? Do they explain fees, processes, and reporting procedures clearly? Is it easy to track the progress? 

When you talk to an ITAD company, they need to be transparent. If they aren’t answering your questions clearly, you need to ask for clarification. If they still won’t give you the answer you need, move on. You also want to make sure that you’re given proof that the decommissioning was completed with proof of the destruction procedures that were followed. 

Before ending your call or email, ask for a proposal that covers all possible fees, how they’ll approach the work, and what the timeframe looks like. Once you have all of this information, you can schedule interviews to make your final decision.

It’s Decision-Making Time

Once you have proposals, time frames, and details like experience and additional services, it’s time to make your final decision. Price shouldn’t be your only deciding factor. You want to look at the value of the services you’re getting. If there are companies that don’t seem to mesh well with your personality, move on. You need to partner with an ITAD company that makes you feel comfortable and assured you’ll work well together. 

This might mean looking at additional details like a company that is committed to protecting the environment or who puts their workers’ physical and mental health needs first. You might want a company with multiple locations to cover the different branches you have across the country.

Why Choose ERI?

ERI is the largest in the U.S. We have facilities around the country and are the only provider that is certified in AAA NAID, e-Stewards, ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001, R2, and SOC 2 Type II. We also have the smallest downstream footprint of any of our competitors. 

We strive to establish the safest workplaces possible with the utmost security both onsite and en route to the nearest ERI facility. We also destroy data at your place of business, so data destruction takes place before your servers and other equipment leave your building. Once it does, our tracking portal makes it easy to remain updated on where your items are and what process they’re in.

When you work with ERI, rest assured nothing is going overseas. All electronics are recycled locally if needed, and items that still have value are resold, which helps pay for your data center decommissioning, so it’s a win-win situation.