Laptops & phones are easily portable. Desktops, servers, and networking hardware are not. How do you move those safely when your company relocates to a new office?
This WOOF! will identify the IT safety risks you face during an office move, and how you avoid them with safe relocation practices.
The Risks to IT Hardware during an Office Move
Just like your prized ping-pong trophy, you risk hurting IT hardware when you move it. We're not just talking a drop on the sidewalk either. Consider all of these risks.
Physical Damage. Drops, shakes, crushed boxes. Monitors have the greatest damage risk due to their large size.
Static Shock. That sudden zap you feel when touching metal? That's enough static electricity to fry a motherboard. Instantly.
Data Loss. You move a desktop, plug it in, and...wait, why isn't it coming on? Uh oh. Your hard drive died while in transit. All your data, gone.
This can happen for a couple of reasons. The hard drive might have taken a hit during the move, causing its components to scratch or move out of place. Maybe some static zapped the drive along the way. In either case, you've changed the desktop into a paperweight just by moving it!
Misconfiguration. Okay, your computer made it over intact. But you can't get online. What's happened?
Every office network uses an "IP space" – a collection of IP addresses that identify the devices operating there. While in transit, some devices may not receive necessary data to "join" the IP space. It's the computer equivalent of not knowing the security code for the front door.
Now that we know the risks in IT moves, let’s go through how to move IT hardware safely. We can mitigate all of these risks with only a few precautions.
10 Safe IT Relocation Practices for Office Moves
- Make a checklist of the process. Every piece of IT hardware and associated peripherals accounted for, its box labeled, its departure from the old office noted, and its arrival at the new office noted.
- Have every user catalog their own IT. Provide a simple spreadsheet they can fill out. They should list which devices they use daily, their department, and their manager.
- Conduct a FULL backup of all company data. Store the backup off-site. Verify it before the move starts. This way if you do have an accident, your data is safe.
- Review your network's documentation. Can you reconstruct the company network, from start to finish, by following the documentation? If not, update the documentation before conducting the move.
- Always set IT hardware down gently. It's not made of glass, but treating it like it is doesn't hurt!
- Guard against static electricity. Static is bad enough when your computers, servers, and network cables are stationary. When in motion, they're at risk for static shocks almost constantly! Protect them with anti-static bags, non-conductive storage boxes (no steel), and rubber-soled shoes.
- Pack every piece of IT hardware with spacers and cushioning in its box. Keep it as stationary as possible during transport.
- Pack cables with the devices to which they attach. Saves head-scratching time during setup at the new office!
- Use the moving process to asset tag all IT hardware. You're moving it anyway, touching every device…might as well!
- When setting up the new location's internal network, make sure you have IP addresses for all computers, servers, printers, and wireless access points. Then broaden the IP space a little further, to accommodate future growth.
Make Office Moves Smoother with IT Safety Precautions
If this seems like a lot of work, you may want to contract a Managed Service Provider (MSP) for help. Make sure to ask if they've done office moves for other customers.
If so, they're aware of the need for safe IT relocation practices. They can address the checklist, take care of backups & asset tagging, and set the IT hardware up at the new location for you.
Either way, treat IT hardware with care when relocating. It doesn't take much to trigger an expensive accident. However, it doesn't take much to prevent such accidents beforehand.
Are all your IT systems protected from power outages/surges? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to preserve your hardware & data!