AgriLife Information Technology

How Stagnant Devices Impact Everyone

All hardware is subject to a lifecycle:

  1. Acquisition
  2. Use/Support
  3. Retirement

When many of us receive a new device, we tend to squirrel away the old device into a drawer or closet for a rainy day. We justify this by saying that it is wise to have a spare device.

The problem with this practice is that offline device becomes exponentially more vulnerable with every passing month as it falls behind on software and antivirus updates.

Additionally, as the hardware ages, it becomes less compatible with current software and systems.

Impacts

Security:

Using outdated devices puts you, your organization’s data, and those that share the same networks at risk.

When you power on that device after months of being offline, it is in a vulnerable state until it gets fully caught up. This can take several hours and may require multiple reboots to apply those updates.

If the device has been offline for more than 90 days, it will be subject to isolation when it is powered back on. It remains isolated until it is reimaged by a member of AIT.

Any machine that needs to be reimaged must have a completed AIT System Imaging & Data Recovery Form.

It would be a terrible idea to use an outdated insecure “spare” device for travel purposes without allowing it to fully catch up.

Annual Inventory:

The more devices assigned to an individual, the more annual inventory certifications are required to be completed. The last thing anyone wants is more paperwork.

Audit:

In the event of an audit, not being able to show that the device was kept in a regularly updated state can lead to poor audit results and reflect poorly on everyone.

Increased management costs and overhead:

Many of the management tools and software licenses used to support and secure devices are based on device counts.

The more devices there are:

  • the more expensive licensing becomes
  • the more difficult it becomes to manage

The device may be offline and stored in a drawer, but it keeps a record in ALL of the management tools.

The offline device begins to get flagged as high risk and consumes more server and staff resources as they need to determine the device’s status.

Stolen?

Broken?

Offline?

Ask the question – Do I still need this device?

Storing a device in a storage closet or a drawer and not using it for months deprives it of fulfilling its life-cycle potential.

The device continues to depreciate, but if it were turned in to AgriLife IT, it could be repurposed or refurbished so that it can still serve a purpose for someone else before it reaches its retirement.

New Device

What is the best practice?

  1. Transfer any data to a cloud storage account or to the new device as soon as you can
  2. Consult your department property manager or inventory person, about what the department policy is concerning an old device that is no longer required
    • If the device will be repurposed for a new person in the department, it can be sent to the AgriLife IT Rebuild Team where they can securely erase and re-image the devic
    • Alternatively, the device can be transferred to AgriLife IT where it may be surplused, or in some cases refurbished if it has not yet reached retirement age
  3. Complete the AgriLife Data Declaration form here before handing in the device

No Spare? No Problem

What do I do if I need a temporary laptop?

AgriLife TechBuy’s Loaner program offers the ability to provide a fully updated device that can be used immediately.

There is no need to wait on an old, outdated device that will take ages to get caught up when you power it back on.