Incident: This came from a sysadmin who worked for one of our consulting clients. A senior exec went on a green kick. Everything had to be recycled, including old PCs. Unfortunately, instead of talking to reps from each department on how to handle this, the exec simply designated a team of buddies to dole out tasks, which meant that a non-IT staffer was in charge of PC hardware recycling.
To be fair, the guy did his job. He calls a local agency that places decently configured, used PCs in local schools. This outfit even takes care of picking them up; all they want are machines with fully wiped hard disks so that their volunteer techs can install student versions of Windows.
The plan looks good. As the hardware lifecycle on a batch of old machines comes up, new ones are purchased, and the old ones are designated for the recycling bin. Unfortunately, with all the work of a hardware migration in front of them, the company’s IT guys are more interested in the new ones than in wiping the old ones. So they just stack the old ones in the downstairs storage room next to the loading dock with a sign on them saying, “To be recycled.” What that sign should have said was: “Leave alone until we say otherwise, or die.”
The non-IT exec sees the PC heap and calls for a weekend pickup. On Monday all the PCs are gone, but the IT guys are so busy with the new stuff that they don’t even notice until Tuesday afternoon.
Fallout: These poor weenies had to chase the PCs all the way to the processing center, find them amid a few hundred others, and perform the hard disk wipes there. That, or get fired.
Moral: If you’re worried about local data safety, then pound the priority into your IT staffers’ heads. Maybe make a few of them roll to make your point.