Advice on managing computer hardware storage/configuring room

Currently I am an intern for a big local dotcom, and I work with the internal IT support department. Other than doing the usual internal help desk support and networking/system admin work, we also have a room where we put all our hardware and PCs with test environment in, and I believe every IT pro who is on Spiceworks has one of those rooms in their company.
Now here is the fun part, every IT company I have ever been to, this particular room is always unorganized, currently it is loaded with all kinds of PCs, laptops and their cables, we use shipping boxes to store extra parts that we don't know if we are going to use or not in the near future, and part of my job is to take anything that we will donate or recycle to our overflow space on another floor in the building. Last week my manager said he is finally feed up with the unorganized nature of this room, and tasked me to do some research and suggestions on how to fix this problem. He want me to find a hardware management/storage solution that can make the room look more organized, where everyone in the department knows where everything is, and they won't just throwing junks on the desk/table and let it laying around there. This room currently have all our cables, loaner laptops, recently returned PCs, test networking/sever hardware, a couple of big tables where we **** all our hardware junks on, add to that a fridge we use for lunch.....I mean you IT pros get the picture, in fact, I am going to attach 2 pictures below to show you how messy this room is that I am talking about.


So now how do you guys think what I need to do to make this better? My manager told me to find some cabinets so we can store all the cables and misc. hardware in there, but I think without a clear hardware storage procedure and management practices, the problem will only happen in the near future again. I am more looking for a sustainable, long term solution to this, any help or experiences you post on here will help!

Comments

  • TechGuy215TechGuy215 CISSP, CEH, CHFI, CCNA: R&S, CCNA: Security, ITIL-F, LPIC-1, A+, Network+, Security+, Linux+, Projec Philadelphia, PAPosts: 404Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    *Just had to add this after re-reading the posting, a fridge you use for lunch? Is it just IT that uses the fridge? Because allowing all employees access to a room that houses IT equipment is a big no-no, this room should be secured and only certain employees should have access. The loss in monetary value for the hardware could be bad, but even worse if there are decommissioned servers or as you stated returned PCs/Loaner laptops with PII and sensitive information on them that could be catastrophic.

    But I digress...Typically this is one I would just hand off to the intern/help-desk employee at my company...icon_wink.gif

    But in my time in the help-desk I was tasked with a similar job.

    I believe the key to a clean secured storage / working area is as follows:

    First, Asset tags are your friend. Make sure to tag and document inventory in a spreadsheet. I only did devices i.e. Laptops, Desktops, Monitors, Printers and left out cables, keyboards, and frivolous junk. My list was sorted by the following:

    User (If Applicable)
    Product Type
    Computer Name (If Applicable)
    Asset Tag
    Serial Number
    Manufacturer
    Model Number
    Location

    It appears in the pictures you posted a few of the laptops are being imaged and possibly some switches being configured in the background. I would dedicate a fair chunk of the room to a nice bench area, where computers can be neatly setup and cabled, KVMs will come in handy when working on many desktop stations.

    Get some really decent shelving systems to hold your spare desktops, laptops, monitors, and printers.

    Also, a few cabinets with customizable drawers comes in hand for miscellaneous equipment such as cables, NICs, Graphic Cards, keyboards, mice...so on and so forth.

    Labels, Labels, and more Labels. People are lazy and won't take the time to find where certain items go, if you label it clearly there is a better chance of them actually doing so.

    In my experience the key to a nice and clean secured storage is maintenance and dedication. Make sure anyone that enters the room is on-board with keeping things tidy, and that you take on the responsibility of being the process owner and see that it is maintained.
    * Currently pursuing: PhD: Information Security and Information Assurance
    * Certifications: CISSP, CEH, CHFI, CCNA:Sec, CCNA:R&S, CWNA, ITILv3, VCA-DCV, LPIC-1, A+, Network+, Security+, Linux+, Project+, and many more...
    * Degrees: MSc: Cybersecurity and Information Assurance; BSc: Information Technology - Security; AAS: IT Network Systems Administration
  • hellolinhellolin Posts: 107Member
    Thank you very much for the advice, yes I should stress the fridge is actually only for our team, the internal IT support guys to use, only us have the permission to use the room. As far as the asset tag system go, we are already using that, and we have a big work bench and some shelves, maybe not enough cabinets to hold all the stuff. The problem is over time our team members just throw all the junk on the bench and not clearing where they should be going to, and cables are laying out everywhere as well...every time I put them in the right place, but I come back 2 days later they are all over the place again. You are right I am the unfortunately intern here...so I have to do this. So far manager told me to look at other IT companies around the area see what they are doing, and ask online for help which is what I do here...I just feel like there needs to be a formal holding area in the room where people can throw their junks there, but not to stay there for very long, this way the non-junk stuff can go where they suppose to go in the first place.
  • --chris----chris-- Posts: 1,516Member ■■■■■□□□□□
    I have seen worse :)

    I would start by figuring out what has data on it that is valuable/needs to be protected. Secure that stuff first and work your way down to the garbage.

    Is this a server room/network room or just a store-all for IT related stuff?


  • cyberguyprcyberguypr Senior Member Posts: 6,844Mod Mod
    This space is not bad, just needs to be managed better. I will tell you up front that no organizing solution in the world will fix coworkers that are pigs and can't keep their are clean. I'm **** with keeping my work area clean and in my desktop support years had lots of arguments regarding this. The message needs to come form the top down that this space must be kept organized at all times. I know may not in a position to push for much but if you get the boss to buy into your ideas and suggestions, you are golden.

    There's nothing wrong with designating that temporary holding area. They key is making sure everyone understand it is TEMPORARY. I've been know for taking stuff that's been in the temporary area too long and putting it back on the offending technician's desk. Again, with management support this is a beautiful thing.

    For the bench, you could try Gladiator benches. They come in different sizes and are fairly deep. We have 4 of these lined up and make for great staging areas for imaging machines and getting new equipment ready. We have 4-5 bunches of cables at specific points across those desks that have data, power, mouse/keyboard, and video so you don't have that clustermess of cables going from one side to the other or across desks. Besides looking awful it may become a safety hazard.
    gladiator1.jpg

    For that wall by the door you can use something like this, so you don't lose the wall space. Drawers are excellent for all that small crap lying around.
    [/img]http://www.kroytechbench.com/images/k-benchpromo.jpg[/img]

    For new parts that have high value and laptop storage when have a few galvanized steel cages like these (albeit smaller and with more shelves). They help keep stuff contained and separated as required.
    8a7dda2df43ed3823a58ad492615ea23.jpg

    As a temporary holding area, how about some sort of cart? That will help move it around to ease relocating stuff to its final location
    mobile-cart.jpg

    Another thing, an OSHA or fire marshal inspection would be fun here.

    Takeaway here is that management needs to pound on the techs to make sure this works.
  • hellolinhellolin Posts: 107Member
    --chris-- wrote: »
    I have seen worse :)

    I would start by figuring out what has data on it that is valuable/needs to be protected. Secure that stuff first and work your way down to the garbage.

    Is this a server room/network room or just a store-all for IT related stuff?

    There is no production network/server in this room, it's for general IT stuff and test environment, also this room is where I image all the new computers for deployment.
  • hellolinhellolin Posts: 107Member
    cyberguypr wrote: »
    This space is not bad, just needs to be managed better. I will tell you up front that no organizing solution in the world will fix coworkers that are pigs and can't keep their are clean. I'm **** with keeping my work area clean and in my desktop support years had lots of arguments regarding this. The message needs to come form the top down that this space must be kept organized at all times. I know may not in a position to push for much but if you get the boss to buy into your ideas and suggestions, you are golden.

    There's nothing wrong with designating that temporary holding area. They key is making sure everyone understand it is TEMPORARY. I've been know for taking stuff that's been in the temporary area too long and putting it back on the offending technician's desk. Again, with management support this is a beautiful thing.

    For the bench, you could try Gladiator benches. They come in different sizes and are fairly deep. We have 4 of these lined up and make for great staging areas for imaging machines and getting new equipment ready. We have 4-5 bunches of cables at specific points across those desks that have data, power, mouse/keyboard, and video so you don't have that clustermess of cables going from one side to the other or across desks. Besides looking awful it may become a safety hazard.
    gladiator1.jpg

    For that wall by the door you can use something like this, so you don't lose the wall space. Drawers are excellent for all that small crap lying around.
    [/img]http://www.kroytechbench.com/images/k-benchpromo.jpg[/img]

    For new parts that have high value and laptop storage when have a few galvanized steel cages like these (albeit smaller and with more shelves). They help keep stuff contained and separated as required.
    8a7dda2df43ed3823a58ad492615ea23.jpg

    As a temporary holding area, how about some sort of cart? That will help move it around to ease relocating stuff to its final location
    mobile-cart.jpg

    Another thing, an OSHA or fire marshal would be fun here.

    Takeaway here is that management needs to pound on the techs to make sure this works.

    Thank you very much, I will try some of the suggestions!
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