We’ve talked about how proactive services are an important component to IT business health. As technology continues to evolve, it’s only going to become more complex and more ingrained in business. Can you manage all of your tech? If you have an IT person in your company, can they handle all of it alone?
Operating a business involves maximizing efficiency and reducing downtime. Your technology should facilitate these efforts, but if you’re running outdated software or using old hardware, those things are likely working against you and putting your business at risk.
But how do you assess your current level of IT risk? And once you’ve done that, how do you determine a refresh schedule to ensure all of your tech components stay up-to-date? You need help creating a technology roadmap and determining how to manage your tools.
Do You Know What Your Risk Looks Like?
How many times have you heard (or said), “Something is wrong with this computer. It’s acting weird.”
But what exactly is weird? Is it a noise? Is it performance? Did you restart it? Is it still happening?
And how do you know if your security measures are working? Firewalls are no longer enough. They help thwart some attacks, but hackers are only getting more clever. The bare minimum anti-virus won’t cut it.
IT Risk Hints
A few signs that suggest your technology is at risk:
The older your components get, the more expensive they are to maintain and the more prone they are to crashing, hacking, and dying.
The age of your computer works against necessary software updates. As technology advances, programs are designed to operate on the latest systems with newer technology. Some updates require more power (or memory), which puts strain on older machines. You’ll find that multi-tasking becomes increasingly more difficult over time.
Is your laptop nearly scorching your lap when you’re using it? Overheated devices are prone to crashing, data corruption (as a result of crashing), and decreased performance. It could be as simple as needing a new fan belt, or more serious, like replacing the entire device.
If you keep getting messages about running low on disk space or you’re finding your applications are repeatedly crashing or frustrating slow, it may be time to replace your server.
You can keep your old tech and infrastructure, but beware: You spend more time working with the wrong tools than if you were to replace and upgrade. You expose your business to more risk with old devices than investing in new ones that are fully protected. You waste more time trying to maintain an old model or trying to determine what the next purchase is that may be better spent consulting an expert.
Experts know how much technology you actually need to achieve your business goals. You may not need to invest in 12 top-notch computers when 1 or 2 will serve the correct purpose. You may not need to buy all new tablets for your company, but rather only for select, key roles. Having a team of experts who can properly guide your investments, as well as recommending must be replaced first, second, third, and so on, will save invaluable time and money. A refresh cycle is a critical component to business security, safety, and productivity.
Did you know that Microsoft Exchange email server is on its way out? An MSP does. They see what’s coming in the future and start preparing you now to budget accordingly. Having this team on your side provides awareness and will push important updates to your business as soon as they happen.
And what about security? An MSP hears the news about scams and data leaks way before you and can communicate the best course of action to prevent your business from being the next target.
Peace of mind is one of the most compelling reasons to speak with an outsourced provider. You’ve got enough responsibilities to monitor for your business without trying to add technologically complex components into the mix.
Why You Need a Tech Refresh Schedule
Tech evolves every 3-5 years depending on the technology. If you’re not scheduling a tech refresh with this in mind, you leave gaps in productivity, security, and efficiency.
Do you know how long your devices sat at the store before you purchased them? While the machines are new to your business, they are not new in technology years. You may be purchasing a “new” device that’s already a few years old.
This is problematic for a few reasons:
- You’re investing in a device that may pose risks from the start
- If you’re attempting to plan your own refresh schedule, you have no idea when your tech actually needs to be refreshed
Here’s a good test for the avid DIY technologist:
- Pick 5 machines in your office.
- What is the date of when they were put in your environment?
- What are the services used most on each device?
- What’s the Operating System on each device?
- How often are patch updates installed?
- What level of accessibility do you have on each device?
- What security protocols are in place on each device?
- How much cybersecurity risk does each device have?
If you can’t answer all of these (and this is just a start), it’s time to start looking for an outsourced IT provider. Asset management is a huge component of Managed Services.
While you’re refreshing your technology… when did you last scan your entire network for vulnerabilities and regulatory compliance violations? Now might be a good time to take our Regulatory Compliance Questionnaire to help you get started on the right path.