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Karen Cohen

By: Karen Cohen on August 19, 2023

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Do I Need To Upgrade My Business IT Hardware & Networking Equipment?

IT Lifecycle Management

Let’s face it; IT infrastructure and hardware are sunk costs. And for most business leaders as long as the equipment continues to operate, investing in new IT equipment is delayed as long as possible.

This can often lead to unexpected downtime and equipment failure. But with planning and an understanding of the things to look for, you can eliminate issues before they happen.

So, what should you look for? What are the business indicators or signs of wear and tear that signal it’s time for a refresh?

At Kelser, we help customers navigate this terrain every day, working with them to proactively plan for hardware and network upgrades. Based on this experience, we know these are important questions to answer and that’s why I’m writing this article.

In this article, I’ll walk you through the considerations to keep in mind when evaluating your IT refresh cycle.

I want to make sure you understand the signs to look for so that you can proactively plan for your own hardware and network upgrades. This will help you avoid surprise expenses and costly downtime.

What Is IT Hardware & Networking Equipment?

Not to get too basic, but I want to ensure that we’re all approaching this topic from the same level of understanding.

IT Hardware

IT hardware is usually considered to be physical devices that process data including servers, desktops, laptops, phones and tablets. Hardware relies on software (including computer programs and apps) to learn what to do and how to do it.

Networking Equipment

Networking equipment allows devices to communicate and interact with each other. Some common types of networking equipment include routers, modems, switches, and access points.

6 Signs That It Might Be Time To Refresh Your Business IT Hardware & Networking Equipment

So, back to the central question…how do you know when it’s time to upgrade your business IT hardware and networking equipment. Here are six signs to consider:

1. Warranty/Support

If your equipment is no longer covered under warranty or support, it means that you are no longer receiving security and efficiency updates. This means that processing speeds are slower and your cybersecurity risk is greater.

2. Performance

Noticing that pages take longer to load or send messages with attachments?  Performance issues lead to inefficiencies and can slow down your entire network.

As we all know, time is money, so if your equipment is slowing you down, you are not capitalizing on efficiencies that could yield higher profit margins.

3. Cybersecurity

Cyber threats evolve and change every day.

If you have outdated equipment, your risk of a data breach is higher because it is easier to hack. New iterations of networking equipment address emerging security threats in addition to improving processing speeds and other performance functionality.

Related article: Top 3 Cybersecurity Threats For Small Businesses (& How To Stay Safe)

4. Growth

If your business is positioned for growth, make sure that your networking equipment can handle the increased demand. Adding users or customer interfaces may seem straightforward, but keep in mind that your networking infrastructure doesn’t have unlimited bandwidth.

5. Features

You may be limping along with your existing equipment, but there may be new feature sets available that could make your life easier.

Just as Microsoft 365 provides free file sharing capability, newer hardware and networking equipment continues to evolve and provide faster processing speeds, larger file storage capacity, and many other features designed to enhance computing power and efficiency.

6. User Interface

Newer IT tools also provide better user interfaces that are easier to use and more intuitive.

These performance advantages are designed to simplify the entire experience for both your IT team and your users. Whether its installation, maintenance, or daily use, interface upgrades can improve life for your entire organization.

Related article: Business IT Assets: Lifecycle Stages & Optimal Refresh Cycles

Where Do I Go From Here?

Now that you know the difference between IT hardware and networking equipment and the six signs you might need an upgrade, you are better suited to decide on a refresh cycle that makes sense for your organization. Keep in mind that the goal here is to avoid costly and emergency equipment replacements.

By proactively planning to refresh IT equipment on a realistic schedule, you eliminate issues before they happen.

The first step is to develop a comprehensive inventory of all your IT assets. Include the brand/model, serial number, purchase date, warranty information, and location. And don’t forget to include your virtual machines!

Depending on the size of your organization, this may be a big job. But it is important to have a comprehensive list of all your assets before you begin. You can’t begin to prioritize your replacement schedule without knowing what you are working with.

Another advantage of conducting a comprehensive inventory is that you may find equipment on your network that is no longer in use and can be properly disposed of, saving you operating costs.

You may have an internal IT group that can help with this process. Or, you may be the only member of your IT team.

Whether you have internal resources or need to partner with an external provider, an IT inventory and replacement schedule will ensure that your hardware and networking equipment are poised to support your future business needs with minimal downtime.

Considering external IT support for the first time? Learn your options for external IT support.

Already started looking for an external IT partner? Check out several options to find a provider that is the right fit for your organization. Here's a list of the 10 best questions to ask when evaluating IT providers.

If you prefer to talk to a human, click the button below and one of our IT solutions experts will reach out to schedule a 15-minute call at your convenience to explore your business goals, your current IT situation, and your IT pain points. Let’s explore whether we are a good fit to work together.

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About Karen Cohen

Karen brings unending curiosity to her role as Kelser's Content Manager. If you have a question, she wants to know the answer.

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