Nothing lasts forever, and that includes your business technology. Even the device lifecycle of your organization’s most reliable, high-powered piece of equipment will eventually reach its end. As an IT leader, it’s your responsibility to replace devices before they begin to malfunction and disrupt your company’s operations.
But according to research by Gartner, it is anticipated that there will be 20 billion internet-connected devices by 2020, and this will be a lot to keep up with. And downtime isn’t the only concern you’ll face at the end of a device’s lifecycle; when a piece of technology nears its expiration date, it can open your company to security risks too.
To help you manage the lifecycles of devices in your environment, here are a few points to monitor and some tips for recycling outdated tech.
How to know when a device’s lifecycle is ending
Determining the end of a device’s lifecycle can be tricky. While you don’t want to wait to replace a device until it breaks or begins causing issues within your environment, you also don’t want to spend your hard-won IT budget on new equipment if the old model is still functioning as expected.
While there are few feelings as enjoyable as opening a brand new, cutting edge piece of technology, investing prematurely can make it more difficult to make other necessary purchases later.
Here are three signs its time to put your aging equipment out to pasture:
It’s becoming less efficient
As technology ages, it often becomes sluggish and unreliable. Take, for example, an outdated printer that’s constantly jamming or an old laptop that freezes when you open more than one program at a time. In some cases, a routine software update can revive a problematic device, but after several years of daily use, many pieces of hardware can become worn beyond repair. If a device is threatening operational efficiency and driving users crazy, it’s time for it to go.
It’s no longer receiving security updates or patches
If you can no longer properly secure a device with updates and patches—either because you’re having trouble completing necessary upgrades or because the manufacturer no longer offers them—it’s time to invest in a new product. Every connected device represents another endpoint to your network, and leaving even one old piece of equipment unsecured could open your organization to cybercriminals.
It doesn’t integrate with newer tech
Integration between different pieces of technology is often essential to business operations. As tech ages, it may not be compatible with newly released devices and solutions—like outdated conference room displays that can’t connect to a presenter’s new laptop.
If you’re experiencing any of these challenges with one of your business devices, it’s time to begin considering a replacement.
How to recycle your old devices
Instead of letting old equipment sit in a landfill or collect dust in the back of an IT closet, consider recycling these items. Not only can this ease your conscience, it can also help contribute to corporate sustainability goals.
Here are three ways to recycle old devices:
- Find a recycling partner
From ink cartridges to monitors, almost every piece of IT equipment can be recycled. Research and contact a reputable recycling partner that will collect these items and dispose of them securely and sustainably.
- Use a trade-in program
Some manufacturers allow you to trade in outdated equipment and earn credits toward the cost of new products. Many of your devices can be cleaned, cleared, and remanufactured to enjoy a second life while providing you with a discount on updated tech.
- Leverage a Device as a Service program
With so many connected devices in the workplace, it’s becoming increasingly challenging to manage the lifecycle of each piece of equipment manually. After all, walking the building with a clipboard to check your organization’s IT inventory is no longer feasible. A device as a service (DaaS) program can help with device management during your tech’s functional life. Some offerings, like HP’s DaaS program, may even include secure recycling services for your old devices.
As businesses continue to increase their technology investments, the need for better device lifecycle management and recycling will only continue to grow. By following the above tips and suggestions, you can create a device end-of-life process that benefits your community and the environment while keeping day-to-day operations running smoothly.