In a report on an issue common across federal agencies, the Postal Service IG has said that the USPS is facing a challenge to replace IT devices that have become obsolete.
“The Postal Service’s IT infrastructure includes thousands of routers, switches, virtual private network gateways, firewalls, voice over internet protocol equipment, and other devices that support the delivery of business systems and IT-enabled processes. These network devices must be monitored, maintained, and replaced appropriately to provide a high-level of network performance and prevent unwanted outages,” the report said.
However, some of them—the publicly released version of the report redacted the percentage—already have been designated as having reached the “end of life,” or EOL, meaning that their vendors no longer sell, repair or support them. Although ending maintenance and support is a decision made by the vendor, replacing such devices “does not need to follow a vendor-based schedule. Replacements should follow a consistent policy set by the organization with device-specific, risk-based replacement plans,” the IG said.
It said that the Postal Service instead has been “reactive” and as a result it “may not replace the most critical EOL devices in a timely and cost-effective manner. This could result in loss of support or functionality, reduced productivity, unplanned outages, and security risks to the Postal Service’s IT network.”
It said that USPS has begun developing a strategic framework for managing EOL network devices, which requires each telecom team to develop device-specific replacement plans in their area.