Keeping up with the Joneses is what many of us try to do when it comes to technology. We queue up for the newest iPhone, make sure we have all the coolest new apps, and pay heed to much of the advertising about the latest gadgets and gizmos.
So you’d think there’d be no problem for small-business owners in keeping their IT hardware up to date. Unfortunately, sometimes there is a problem: outfitting an office full of cubicles with new computers can be costly and quite a bit more time consuming than upgrading one’s personal devices.
But there are ways to do it economically -- both in terms of expense and effort -- and several important reasons for doing it beyond simply staying in fashion. Here’s a look at what you can expect when you prioritize keeping your IT hardware up to date.
It’s not unusual for consumers to run out and purchase the hottest new PC on the market because it looks cool and is getting good reviews. But another reason to upgrade would be because their old PC is working less efficiently than it needs to be.
When your employees’ desktop PCs are running slow, it could be because their internal components can no longer handle the applications and operating systems that are installed on them -- even if it’s the same software that’s always been there. That’s because over time updates have been installed with new features and security patches, and those usually require more computing power to run smoothly.
When they’re not running smoothly, your desktop PCs -- and laptops, tablets, and smartphones -- get bogged down, and that leads to less productive employees.
Seamless Repairs & Replacements
If your current view of upgrading slow computers is that it’s just another expense, you should refocus a bit. Newer motherboards, processors, and memory sticks will not only ensure your software has plenty of computing power to run smoothly, it will ensure repairs and replacements can be made easily.
In the rare event that there is a failure to one of those critical components -- and they’re a newer model -- you can rely on the manufacturer for warranty support, or you can just pop the hood and swap it out. If they are older versions, they may not even be manufactured anymore and, if the maker does in fact still support them, it will cost you.
When you can’t locate replacements for defective hardware components, that leaves you one final option: buying entirely new computers. But you‘d better hurry, because employee downtime can be extremely damaging financially speaking: some estimates place the cost of an hour of server downtime in the $300K-$400K range, depending on the business.
Whatever your business, you need to have proper firewalls and intrusion detection systems (IDS) in place, but those too can become outdated. If yours are outdated, that’s practically an invitation to hackers to slip in behind your defense perimeter and do as they please with your data.
Firewalls, IDS, routers, and any other hardware your IT provider has installed on your network to fight cybercrime have mechanisms that notify network administrators of anomalies. If the “firmware” on these devices becomes outdated, it could very well render the entire device useless in terms of its detection capabilities.
Firmware is similar to an operating system, allowing firewalls and routers to communicate with all the other machines on your network -- including the ones storing company data. If that communication breaks down and anomalies aren’t detected, your business can be exploited, such as by having your WiFi router’s admin credentials commandeered.
A Final Recommendation
As you can see, keeping up with the Joneses does have its benefits, especially for small- and mid-sized business owners who have hundreds of endpoints to maintain. The question for you then becomes whether you have the internal resources to implement this advice, or if you need the services of an IT service provider like Founders Technology Group.
In either case, we propose the following thought experiment: if all your computers, firewalls, and routers were updated to the latest technology tomorrow and it enhanced employee productivity, made future hardware repairs easier and less expensive, and tightened up your cybersecurity, would you think your business had improved?
For a free assessment of just how much updating your office IT hardware can improve your business, call 860-256-8197 today!