Your I.T. equipment is an important asset that requires planning. Asset and life cycle management are “cradle to grave” planning for acquisition, maintenance and eventual decommissioning of the technology your business needs to succeed. And as we discussed in last week's post on "5 Reasons to ditch old equipment", asset and life cycle management are an important part of keeping your important business data more secure.
Here are five signs that you need to take a closer look at managing the lifecycle of your I.T. equipment.
1) Your I.T equipment is out of warranty
Most computers and other hardware manufacturers build their equipment with the intention that it should last three to five years. The maximum length of a Dell warranty, for instance, is five years. This time period has actually gotten longer over the last decade or so as operating systems have gotten more stable. It’s important to review your warranties regularly to see if your I.T. equipment is still under warranty, or if you are at risk should your equipment fail.
2) Operating systems no longer supported
If you’re still running Windows 95 or Windows XP, it probably goes without saying that your operating system is unsupported. Yet, some estimates indicate that as many as one quarter to a third of businesses are still running XP and other unsupported systems. Why is this a problem? Simply this – outdated operating systems are a prime target for hackers, as patches are no longer being developed to protect your I.T. equipment and its valuable data against their exploits.
3) Software doesn’t play nicely together
Over time, many businesses add various programs to accomplish a variety of tasks. Often these applications were designed to work with different operating systems and on different equipment. If only one application is having a problem, the issue may be limited to that application, but if all your applications are running slowly or not working well together, it’s a sign your I.T. equipment may not have been designed to do what you’re asking of it and it’s time to upgrade.
4) Your I.T. equipment is running slowly
If your customers are calling and you can’t access their data quickly, it could mean your I.T. equipment needs replacement. It’s not just an embarrassing problem that’s negatively impacting customer service, it’s also costing you money: Slow workstations are estimated to create a 2.75% drop in productivity – that’s 13 minutes per day, or 5.5 days per year. The problem is even worse with server equipment; if servers are running slowly, it’s affecting more users, which means everyone’s productivity is suffering.
5) Your computer is noisy
What’s that noise? It could be the sound of your hard drive fan trying desperately to cool your overheating machine. If so, your computer may be getting ready to die. Your hard drive is the engine of your computer, and just like your car, if your engine overheats it’s all over for your computer. Don’t wait to “pull your computer over.” If you’re hearing a lot of noises coming from your computer, that’s a sign that you need to start planning for replacement, and soon.
Trouble Ahead? Take Action Now!
If you’re seeing any of these signs of trouble, it’s important that you don’t delay in taking action. Old I.T. equipment creates significant data security and financial risk for your business. The good news is, taking action stands to benefit your business just as significantly.
Planning to replace your I.T. equipment is a great opportunity to assess how your hardware and software are working for your business, and to improve the way that you are doing business. Newer equipment is faster and more capable. It helps you get more work done and be more productive. It also supports better collaboration and communication with your employees, business partners and customers.
It’s also a great time to look at new ways to set up your equipment to “hack” or improve your business productivity. Multiple monitors make it easier to juggle everything that you do during your workday. Improving the ergonomics of your workstation can also help you be more productive.
Best of all, computer equipment is actually getting less expensive. A computer that would have cost you $2,000 two years ago is likely to cost less than half that today. According to Moore’s Law, computing power doubles about every two years, even as prices drop. A computer twice as powerful as one you bought five years ago costs half what you originally paid today. Is your main point of reference for the cost of computers the cost of your existing equipment? You could be in for a pleasant surprise.
Replacing outdated I.T. equipment offers significant benefits. If you need help, contact Tolar Systems for an I.T. lifecycle assessment today.