As the Bay Area moves into the warmest months of the year, you can enjoy the summer knowing your annual home spring cleaning is behind you—when you tackled all those chores in (literally) one clean sweep over a weekend. With that taken care of, now’s a good time to review your company’s tech refresh strategy—if you have one.
Many employees of small IT companies still think of every desktop workstation the way they view that trusty old Honda Civic they drive to work: Squeeze every last drop of mileage out of it until the wheels fall off. The reality is that the prime “use life” of desktop hardware—computers, monitors, and printers—averages only about three years before costly maintenance issues begin creeping in. A 2013 study commissioned by Intel surveying 736 small businesses around the world revealed that while over one-third retain their computer systems for at least four years, their employees lose an average of 42 working hours per year due to computer downtime—extended maintenance, repairs, and security fixes.
The average repair cost of an older PC is $427, about 1.3 times more than fixing a newer machine.
Quick Fixes vs. Long-Term Preparation
A comprehensive tech refresh goes beyond the desktop. As we’ve talked about, a company firewall and anti-virus protection are the first lines of defense against the relentless onslaught of malicious hacking and cyber-crime. If you don’t remember when you installed your current network firewall system or anti-virus program, you’re quite likely relying on yesterday’s technology to guard against thousands of new threats which increase by the day. You can rely on vendors’ updates and security patches to try to keep pace, or you can set a firm timetable for upgrading to leading-edge tools—such as firewalls with advanced Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) to scan data for viruses—which offer the best defense against that next cyber-attack.
Before reviewing—or establishing—your company’s tech refresh timeline, take a closer look at the current overall condition of your IT system.
Age. How old is your desktop hardware (PCs, monitors, printers, networking equipment, etc.)? Are these assets still under warranty? If not, how long ago did the warranty expire?
Performance. Can you identify any equipment that’s inconsistent or just plain unreliable? Does the resulting downtime mandate an upgrade?
Support or Security Protection. If you have a Microsoft 2003 operating system running on your server, it’s time right now for a tech refresh. Microsoft will stop important security protection patch updates for this server this year. That means that if you still have any 2003 servers, they must be replaced—or they will become sitting ducks for hackers and viruses. Consider whether you should replace the server(s) or migrate your infrastructure to a private Cloud data center.
Capacity. From obsolete microprocessors to maxed-out hard drives, are your older computers bottlenecking your productivity? Can your existing IT infrastructure support upgraded applications?
Risk. What are the potential consequences of a network crash or a malicious cyber-attack? What are your security needs—today and tomorrow?
Update Before It’s Too Late
A tech refresh can take a “big bang” approach—replacing almost everything after three or four years have gone by—or a phased refresh, targeting mission-critical assets ahead of secondary equipment. For a complimentary assessment of your IT infrastructure and recommendations for an effective tech refresh strategy for your company, click here.