Small to midsize businesses (SMBs) are notorious for delaying the purchase of new equipment until the old equipment fails. Whether we’re talking about IT infrastructure, a printer or a coffee machine, it doesn’t get replaced until absolutely necessary. When it breaks, you’ll buy a new one.
The office printer and coffee machine can be replaced quickly and easily without disruption, but it’s almost impossible to do business if your IT infrastructure fails. It should go without saying that IT needs to be treated differently and more urgently.
For example, Microsoft has announced that Small Business Server has been discontinued. Microsoft will end support for Exchange Server 2003 and SharePoint Portal Server 2003 in April 2014, and for Windows Server 2003 in July 2015. These servers have been the backbone of many SMB IT infrastructures for years.
Companies that use dated or unsupported technology yet continue to delay IT upgrades run the obvious risk of damaging their business operations and reputation should that older technology fail. More sophisticated security threats, the explosion of mobile devices and BYOD, and the improved efficiency, flexibility and productivity enabled by cloud computing services are forcing businesses to reevaluate their IT strategies sooner rather than later.
Here are five IT investments that SMBs need to consider now:
- A server based on your needs five years from now. Purchases made with an eye toward the future are the smartest investments. Buying a server for today means you’ll be upgrading – and spending more money – much sooner.
- A next-generation firewall. BYOD, peer-to-peer applications, VoIP and rich media streaming can hamper network performance. A next-generation firewall not only guards against modern security threats, but it also monitors and controls user apps and data.
- A reliable backup solution. This does not include the built-in variety. High-quality backup software is the best way to preserve mission-critical applications and data in the event of a network failure.
- Mobile, mobile, mobile. Every business without exception needs to empower its employees to work anywhere, anytime, on any device. Failure to take advantage of mobile and cloud computing gives away a massive competitive edge to competitors.
- Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). A popular alternative to purchasing hardware, IaaS enables businesses to take advantage of the latest IT hardware and software, which is hosted by a third-party service provider, for a monthly fee. No upfront expenditure is required. The service provider assumes total cost of ownership and responsibility for determining IT needs now and in the future.
IT infrastructure is a strategic investment, not an expense. It’s only an expense when you wait until your old system fails before replacing or upgrading it. Contact us to help you evaluate your current IT infrastructure and make the investments that will help you reach your business goals.