When you’re looking for help managing your business IT, one of the first things a potential IT provider may ask is the age of your hardware.  Why?  Newer machines are efficient and more secure than older machines, so your business data is safer.

Over time, your business will be better protected if you stick to a proactive plan that incrementally keeps your workstations and servers updated.  Plan on a three-year lifespan for hardware.  Each year past that makes your hardware less efficient and prone to failure.

Why It’s Important to Stay Current

  • Consider that new machines have more capacity and run faster than their predecessors.  That means programs load faster so staff can do more with less frustration.
  • From a security standpoint, newer machines and software come with tools that can (and should) be regularly updated to help avoid unnecessary risks.
  • Microsoft and other software companies are constantly updating their products while ending support and security fixes for older versions of software.  Because older machines usually run older versions of software, if you don’t upgrade, you risk the security of your network.
  • Business are adopting some form of cloud computing at ever increasing rates.  This means the cloud provider will ultimately determine what versions of software you must use.  Keep current to avoid incompatibility.
  • Running unsupported software on old machines may also risk your business from a legal perspective. Did you know running an operating system after support ends could subject your business to data protection laws that require business owners to operate with “due diligence”?
  • Computers include mechanical components.  Over time, they just wear out.  An unexpected hardware failure wastes time and money, and may cause data loss so it simply makes more sense to plan ahead.

How to Catch Up If Your Business is Behind

  • Conduct an asset inventory to determine the age of all your workstations and servers.  (Your IT provider can help.)  Rank everything oldest to newest.
  • Plan hardware refreshes in advance to minimize downtime and budget-shock.  Your asset inventory will give you an idea of what needs to be replaced now, a year from now, or two years from now.
  • Make sure all desktops and servers are robust enough for business use to effectively support the applications your business needs.  (Basic-feature machines from the local big box store don’t count.)
  • Once you install new machines, keep all applications updated, including applying Windows updates.  Not updating exposes your network to unnecessary risks.

If your business needs help managing IT, contact CRU Solutions.