Happy October! The holiday season is coming upon us. We all know what that means… holiday shopping, family gatherings, and most importantly, year-end budget reallocations!
Ok, yes, I know. Year-end budgeting does not carry the same gravitas as a candlelight religious service. But it is something that many businesses do this time of the year. Across the nation, supervisors are making a list of items for their departments that can be purchased with year-end funds.
If you plan to purchase technology this quarter, we encourage folks to look at replacing older infrastructure equipment. Let’s face it… infrastructure is not sexy. When putting together annual budgets, who wants to spend money on refresh projects that most executives will never notice? No, annual budgets are always allocated to new technology projects that promise to save the world. The network closet upgrade can wait.
However, we all know that, at the core, IT equipment holds the organization together. When these devices start having problems, people quickly notice. At first, the problems will present as minor glitches, usually self-correcting, and almost always blamed on the Internet connection. Over time, the problems continually get worse. If you are lucky, an old device simply fails. If not, the old stuff starts generating a string of trouble tickets and yields a fruitless search for gremlins in the machine.
Cyber security is also a concern with older equipment. Hackers constantly look for vulnerable devices that allow them access to a network. Once hardware falls out of support, manufacturers stop creating device patches. As a result, your environment is left in a vulnerable state.
The solution is to have a proactive replacement plan. This plan lists all your infrastructure equipment – switches, access points, desktops, and routers – and when they are due for replacement. Keep this plan up-to-date, and you will always know the next item up for refresh.
The big question is, “When should I replace my gear?” Every IT professional has their own opinion on when to upgrade, but here are some guidelines we use:
· If the manufacturer doesn’t provide active support for the device, it’s time to replace it.
· For Windows desktops, if the hardware doesn’t support the latest feature pack, it’s time for a replacement.
· For Windows servers, the line-of-business software vendor dictates the refresh schedule. If your line-of-business software is out of support, you are playing with fire.
· If the device presents any glitches that cannot be explained, upgrade the firmware. If that doesn’t work, replace it.
· With a few exceptions, any technology over five years old is ready for a replacement.
If you are a small to medium-sized organization and need help putting together a replacement plan, we recommend that you engage a technology consultant to walk you through the process. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact CMA Technology at 706-860-1997. We will be happy to review your current environment and make sure your business technology operates in the green!