Retrieving Devices from Offboarding Task


We are facing a challenge in recovering assets for employees/contractors that have been terminated. We have a group “end-user” support group responsible for contacting the managers to retrieve the assets, but we are not recovering fast enough. I spoke to their manager to understand the process and the roadblocks they are facing for not picking up the assets promptly. It seems that there are not enough resources. There are other projects that these teams are working on, and they can’t always work on the asset recovery activities. These assets end up sitting somewhere in a drawer in a cubicle, or managers redeploy without re-imaging the device first. What ideas do you have for recovering assets after employee is terminated?

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If it helps, here is some info on employee offboarding to reclaim assets, put the software on those assets back into the pool, etc.

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Sounds like your pain point is with physical harvesting of the device. Some ideas each with their own merits.

Redeployed assets not being re-imaged - Institute a policy for PC that are being decommissioned due to PC refresh or termination to remove disable them from the domain so they can’t be redeployed. Some popup message would be a nice touch to request they return the device (Not sure though how feasible that part is)

Incent return of the hardware - Issue notices to the manager of the departing employee (assuming they didn’t leave with the device). After two notices escalate to higher up citing security issues with potential data left on the device. Bill their department for value of the device if not returned in xx timeframe. Like most things if there is no incentive (stick or carrot style) some will never react. You want to socialize your pressure tactics first for adoption before sending the notices of course so you have management alignment.

If taken by departing employee - two options, hold portion of their pay equal to replacement value of the device. For some countries HR won’t allow (beyond me why they stole company property) I’d notify the local authorities of the theft. I know it sounds rash, but it gets results. Any tracking software will aid your cause.

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@dinamac01 - Check your HR and IT policy on returning IT hardware. If it doesn’t exist, create one that is beneficial to the organization.

Loop in Information Security to help you. There is a data security component that hopefully they will be concerned about. They may have tools that you can access to see if it’s active or not. Whether they can remove wipe or “brick” the machine.

We have a rule that if the asset is not recovered within 30 days, the asset residual value or full lease is charged back to the department. InfoSec and AD terminates should access on the day of termination. While whoever manages your endpoint should remote wipe the device after 30 days.

We have procedures in place that informs the user to return the device and we send boxes for them to ship at company’s expense, plus follow-ups till the 30 day mark.

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One other area as I was thinking on this topic - I’d suggest you evaluate what the roadblocks beyond “time” looks like for the return process. Get into the Why’s and see if you can easy some of the situation by addressing specifics:

  • Is it that the manager doesn’t want to have the activity in the first place? It can feel awkward to be in charge of the collection at the time of departure. Perhaps see if there is a different role that can participate in being involved - maybe an office manager.

  • Is it actually that they don’t trust they can get the data off the machines but might need it until a replacement employee is hired?

  • Does it mean that the actual return process is cumbersome?
    This could be addressed by adding drop off locations for HR, managers or even departing employees to easily drop the gear off themselves (think like walk up window or something). Other options might be automating the deployment of empty boxes & pre-printed return to remote users or even less busy remote office sites.

  • Do you have reporting yet at a Manager/Department/Location level to identify where the issue is happening the most often and a summary of how long it takes? If you can build that, and add some cost data you might find that the story opens up a more accurate escalation point that can drive organization change to improve the return.

The suggestions in other responses above for limiting redeployment capability without being handled by IT are very valuable as well.