Computer Redeployment Policy

Purpose

To control the redeployment of an older computer when it has been replaced by a new computer or computers that have been "in storage" and wish to be put back into service. The fact that operating system vendors will cease support of older operating systems is necessitating this policy.

Vendors who have declared an end of support for older versions of their operating systems present the following problems:

  • The computers with end of support operating systems will not be able to be updated against security threats because the vendor will no longer be releasing patches. 

  • These computers will become vulnerable and not only pose a risk to the user of a system and the information that is on that computer, but also to the network that it is connected to, and thus other users on that network.

  • The security and stability of the SUNY Potsdam network and the sensitive data contained on it will be in jeopardy.  

  • Newer software packages will often not operate on older operating systems.  

This policy pertains to all computers connected to the SUNY Potsdam network. These include, but are not limited to, computers in use/owned by: faculty, staff, tenants, emerti, and personally owned computers.

Minimum Computer Standards

In many cases the work being done with these redeployed computers is valuable to the operation of a department and therefore the college as a whole. While the intent is not to remove that value, it is necessary to set a minimum benchmark for these computers below which they cannot and will not be redeployed in order to maintain a secure network. For this purpose:

  • CTS will set a reasonable benchmark for both Windows and Macintosh computers.  

  • CTS will post the new benchmarks in the Computing area of the College's website as well as notify the campus community upon any change in that week's issue of the Reporter.

  • These benchmarks will be adjusted according to major changes in the computing industry that may impact minimum standards.  

Determination for Redeployment

At the time of a new computer purchase, if the department buying the new equipment plans to redeploy the older computer, the following steps need to be taken:

  • The user or department will contact the CTS Helpdesk for an evaluation of the older computer.  

  • A determination will be made by the Helpdesk to see if the computer can be upgraded to minimum standards and if so, what it will need. (Minimally it may require only an Operating System upgrade but might also need more RAM or Hard Drive space).

  • CTS will provide the department with the specifics of what to order for the computer upgrade.  

  • If the department chooses to make this investment, the computer will be upgraded prior to redeployment.  

  • If this investment is not made, CTS will not allow the computer back on the network, despite the fact that it was originally funded by the requesting department. CTS will no longer provide support for the outdated system.

Background

The current state of computer purchasing at SUNY Potsdam for faculty/staff is broken into two groups. The first group is the centrally funded academic life-cycle which addresses the needs within the three academic schools.  In this case when an area is due for computer replacement, Computing and Technology Services (CTS) installs a new computer in exchange for the removal of the user's current computer. This is generally accepted by the department since the department is not the purchaser of the old or new computer.

In all other departments on campus, however, the financial responsibility of purchasing the computer is not addressed centrally. In this second group, departments or sometimes their Cabinet level administrators will fund the purchase of a new computer when needed. Some areas have established a proactive means of planning for their computer needs annually while others are reactive when something breaks or no longer works adequately. In this environment there is more of a sense of departmental "ownership" over the equipment. Often the CTS Helpdesk is then asked to allow the old computer to remain in the department for use by another person, typically a student worker. In these cases after transferring all the data from the old computer to the new, the Helpdesk wipes the old computer clean and redeploys it basically as it was without the individual's data and with the original Operating System.

Communication

The college administration has agreed to this policy and plans to share the policy with the campus community.  It is the goal of CTS that departments know about this change when making their purchasing decision for new computers and thus budget for any upgrade that may be needed for their old computers if there are plans to continue to use them.

If you have any questions or comments, please send an email to helpdesk@potsdam.edu or call x4444.