How Do You Know When It's Time to Replace Hardware?

Technology you can rely on is crucial for businesses today. In the world of IT consulting, the question of when to replace hardware is one that is asked frequently, and for good reason. It’s hard to determine how old is too old for hardware such as desktops and laptops, onsite servers, legacy phone systems and networking infrastructure. When is it necessary to replace your hardware? Should you be looking into a hosted PBX or other cloud solutions?

It’s a common scenario: the computers in your office work - for most things. Your printer still prints, although it does jam every so often, and your network provides internet for the whole building even if it has been slow lately. For most of your day-to-day operations, your harware is up to the task. But what about those times when it isn't? 

Are you prepared for hardware failure?

So many businesses rely completely on their technology working properly. But what happens when something breaks? Hardware failure can grind productivity to a halt, making it difficult to meet deadlines and causing frustration among employees. In old equipment, worn-out moving parts, dust, and other problems that are difficult to see can sometimes go unnoticed, and can cause the hardware to fail at any time, creating a headache for everyone involved.

How much is upkeep on old hardware costing you?

New computers, servers, and network infrastructure are definitely an investment of time and money. Buying the latest technologies can be expensive, and so can training your employees to use it. The cost of replacing these devices is an important consideration, but make sure you are also considering the cost of keeping old hardware. Not only could older devices be more prone to problems, but they could also be more difficult for IT specialists to diagnose and fix with current tools. This increased difficulty could tie up your employees while the hardware is fixed, and cost just as much, or more, than upgrading to newer hardware.

So, how often should hardware be replaced?

Most Boston IT services recommend that desktops and laptops be replaced every three to five years, Local Area Networks (LAN) infrastructures between 10 and 15 years, and Wireless Local Area Networks (WLAN) infrastructures as often as two to three years. This can seem like a hefty cost, or even impractical to consider, yet the benefits of new devices and hardware can lead to increased productivity and new solutions to problems that your business may face. New software is constantly being developed to address common problems and time sinks, yet it can be difficult to find software compatible with older systems.

When you do upgrade, make sure you're thinking ahead a couple years by keeping records of what you purchased, when you purchased it, and any warranty or repair information. Good records will make future problems easier to repair, and could be easier on your wallet if your hardware comes with a warranty. Further, regularly reviewing records will mean you and your IT team can better determine when it's time to replace again.

If you are having problems with your current devices and are thinking about replacing, get a second opinion on what a good replacement would be. Consult with IT experts, and let them know what you use the hardware for, as well as what you hope to achieve with new hardware. They will have the resources to find the best fit for you and your business. With less downtime, easier upkeep, and the opportunity to use newer software, it’s important to consider what strides you and your business could be making by replacing old hardware.