3 Questions to Ask Before Embarking on an IT Refresh in 2022
Like much of life, a successful hardware refresh ultimately comes down to timing. Rush it and you could be decommissioning equipment prematurely. Wait and your outdated IT tools could lead to a security incident. Or worse, crash and leave you in a lurch.
Even seasoned IT teams often need a little help knowing how to strike the right balance. This primer will help you decide when to perform a refresh or upgrade, so you can start the year off right.
Why is a Hardware Refresh Important?
Modern businesses run on modern technology. Operating with hardware that’s outdated could leave vulnerable to cyber attack – or altogether irrelevant.
Think about it. Older hardware solutions may not have the capacity to support newer operating systems. That makes your entire fleet vulnerable since one infected machine can take down your entire network.
You may also be unable to run the new applications and software needed, especially if you find yourself suddenly supporting a hybrid workforce. Outdated tech can even burn out your IT teams and quickly put a drag on productivity, as well as employee morale.
Outdated tech can burn out your IT teams and quickly put a drag on productivity.
Since the hardware you use has a direct correlation to your productivity, security, and efficiency, newer equipment is often the quickest way to improve all three.
What's the Difference Between a Refresh and an Upgrade?
Even if you’re hearing these terms get used interchangeably, there are subtle distinctions you need to understand before you move forward.
When you’re upgrading your hardware, the goal is usually to change out a specific component that extends its life or improves its performance capacity. Anyone who’s ever upgraded the storage on their laptop knows how helpful this can be.
However, hardware upgrades still leave you with an outdated device.
When you replace the device entirely, that’s called a hardware refresh. Generally it involves switching to a new piece of equipment or tool, like the latest version of a laptop or updated firewall for your network. Your company might choose to do this when hardware reaches its end-of-life stage or as IT regulations for your industry change.
How do I Plan a Refresh?
Can’t afford for all your equipment to go out around the same time? A planned IT refresh is better than unexpectedly shelling out thousands of dollars or draining your working capital on ongoing maintenance costs.
To phase out aging infrastructure and equipment, prioritise these tasks:
- Audit your devices. Assess all computer, mobile, peripheral, and network devices for appropriate speed and security. Don’t forget things like printers and routers, as well as firewalls and spam filters.
- Review your servers. Inefficient server hosting and storage can cost you. Consider whether increasing your capacity could improve your performance or if you need to switch to an entirely new hosting type like a hybrid approach, depending on the up-front capital you have to spend.
- Research new tech options. Analyse all solutions available before you make your decision. Doing so can help you achieve specific goals like cost-cutting or freeing up your IT admins for more strategic work.
- Develop a timeline. You can refresh anything, but maybe not everything. (At least not all at once.) If you want to minimise the disruption, use the results of your audit to prioritise your IT refresh based on what’s most time-sensitive and most manageable.
- Evaluate your future business needs. Try to anticipate the storage and processing power you’ll need to run updated software and equipment. If you’re not sure, quadrupling your current capacity and budgeting for another refresh within the next three years is a good start.
Still operating under an “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude? You could be putting your entire organisation at risk. For more productivity – and peace of mind – use the new year to plan out your own IT refresh.