Replacement of old KI computers
The IT Office (ITA) regularly receives questions about the frequency of replacing computers - the official recommendation from ITA is to replace your KI computer every three or at vert least every five years. This limit has been set based mainly on data security and cost factors and applies to both PC and Mac computers.
At some point, all manufacturers drop support for older hardware when newer versions of the operating systems are released – especially Mac computers will face the problem of unsupported hardware in older computers as macOS is updated.
ITA must always maintain an acceptable level of security on all OS platforms managed for KI. So, even if an older computer may be working fine for any given task, KI is managing more than 5000 computers, and need to maintain a broader perspective. The malfunction of one single old computer may have costly consequences.
What happens to my old computer?
All computers that are being replaced go through an "offboarding" and reuse/recycle process. During this process, we make sure that the internal drive is wiped. This way, we can guarantee that all data is safe and ensure that no data breach can occur on older computers that leaves KI. For this reason, no computers used by KI staff are allowed to be stowed away or brought home for personal use.
Also, there is a risk of breaching software license agreements if older computers are active. Any revision proving that KI does not adhere to licensing agreements can result in costly fines.
Risks of old hardware
Replacing a computer is best done while it still works fine. If the replacement is initiated by the old computer suddenly not working anymore, you will risk the loss of data, which usually comes with a substantial cost.
There are unfortunate examples of users losing months of work due to a computer crash and insufficient backup. Also, the cost of Helpdesk having to spend hours trying to salvage data must be considered. One should also keep in mind that it may take a while for a new computer to be delivered, which means several days of the user being unable to work efficiently.
Replacing hardware: refurbishing and recycling
The IT Office makes sure that any working computer that is replaced at KI is sent off to be refurbished and resold on a second-hand market. Computers that are too old or don't work are recycled. This process is handled by a procured partner meeting required security and environmental standards.
While an older computer generally won't be reliable enough for KI's standard and will cost us more to support and maintain, there are other types of organizations and customers where those factors aren't as important. The second-hand market for computers is quite large, and the demand for refurbished computers is high, which means that KI can get a substantial kickback on computers that are new enough to be refurbished and resold.
Recommendation to use the life cycle management service
The environmental aspect is one of the main reasons ITA offers rental computers through the Life cycle management service. These computers are replaced every 36 months, and you'll pay a monthly fee for your computer. The total cost over 36 months (after which most computers, even though purchased, are recommended to be replaced) is generally 10% lower than the cost of buying the same computer.
After 36 months, the computer still holds enough value to be refurbished and resold by our partner. In short, that allows KI to provide modern, power-efficient, and secure hardware at a lower cost while lowering our environmental impact since we always make sure that old computers are reused.