Moore’s law stipulates that the number of transistors in integrated circuits doubles every two years. In other words, the speed of technological advancement is so fast that businesses have a hard time keeping up. There’s a good chance that that shiny new server you invested in just a few years ago has since been superseded by a model that’s twice as fast, necessitating a need for a hardware refresh.
What is a hardware refresh?
A hardware refresh replaces an entire network, computing system, or storage system. These IT projects often target specific systems, departments, or branches, though they may include the entire organization. A hardware refresh has a far broader reach than a hardware upgrade, which typically only covers upgrades and additions to existing systems, such as memory and storage capacity upgrades.
Hardware refresh projects can be expensive and require proper timing. After all, if you carry out a hardware refresh too early, you can end up wasting money. On the other hand, pushing your equipment too far beyond its life cycle may lead to a serious risk of unscheduled downtime, security breaches, compliance failures, and more. Here are some signs that moment might be approaching:
1. Hardware reaching official end of life
All hardware and software has a finite life cycle, which is typically determined by manufacturers during release. Once a product reaches the end of its life cycle, you can still continue to use it, but there won’t be any further updates or customer support available. This leaves the systems vulnerable. If any of your mission-critical systems are just months from their official end-of-life dates, you should think about replacing them fast.
2. Incompatibilities with modern software
If you can’t install today’s software on a device, then it’s probably long past its retirement date. Of course, incompatibilities frequently arise between different platforms as well, but if you have a Windows server that can’t host modern Windows applications, then it’s probably time to get a new one.
The same applies to laptops and workstations. If you’re trying to run Windows 10 on a machine with only 2 GB of memory and a 1.6 Ghz processor, chances are the machine itself is too old to be worth upgrading.
3. Poor performance and responsiveness
Employees waste countless hours every year staring at loading screens and error messages. This stifles productivity and morale alike, and it’s also one of the reasons many people prefer to use their own devices for work instead. If your employees are complaining about slow PCs, then it’s time to get to the root of the problem. Chances are, if it’s a widely recurring issue, it could be that your hardware is outdated. The same applies if you're experiencing sporadic system outages.
4. Increased risk of security vulnerabilities
Using hardware that’s past the end of its support life cycle is risky from an information security standpoint, just as failing to update your software is. If a device is no longer supported, then the original manufacturer won’t be releasing any more firmware updates for it, which can leave it exposed to cyberattacks. For example, an old wireless network router might not support the standard security protocols in use today, in which case they will be more susceptible to attacks.
5. High maintenance and upgrade costs
While technological obsolescence has been a thorn in the side of business leaders for years, it’s also important to remember that the economics of continuing to use old hardware simply doesn’t make sense. If you’re spending a lot of money on unscheduled maintenance or IT support, then it’s probably time for a complete refresh simply from a cost standpoint alone. An even better approach is to use the opportunity to migrate your systems to the cloud, so you can take advantage of proactive support and never have to worry about costly upgrades again.
HERO Managed Services helps businesses reduce their reliance on in-house IT with tailored cloud-based solutions you can count on. Get your free consultation today.