One simply needs to look around for a sense that keeping current with the most recent technology is something akin to religion.
You’ll see queues of worshippers winding ’round the block outside the Apple store, hear nonstop evangelizing online and on TV about empowering innovations, and read retailers’ preachments of "catastrophic" inventory shortages, as if the great flood were upon us.
This particular strand of spirituality has us believing that new gadgets are glorious, which may or may not be true; but either way, there are many practical reasons for having faith in the tech companies’ revelations, too.
It’s not uncommon for the converted to rush out and buy that new slim-fitting, ultra-quiet, mega-deluxe PC simply because it’s cutting-edge and cool. But if one’s existing PC were a couple years old and ran less efficiently than what’s desirable, rushing out would be right!
So for business owners whose employees rely on computers to do their jobs, the advantages of keeping them current -- the improved productivity, easier upgrades and component replacements, and stronger cybersecurity, for example -- are things they ought to consider seriously.
And this goes well beyond personal computers. Company laptops, tablets, and smartphones; servers and networking equipment; all the software apps one uses in their daily operations -- these things need to be updated regularly, too, and not only so your teams look smart, but so they can be more productive.
How would up-to-date IT positively influence your employees’ productivity? On the hardware side of things, we can assume that newer versions of just about any computing device will have higher storage capacity and faster processing speeds than older ones (read: Moore’s Law).
Therefore, companies that utilize highly CPU-intensive programs -- such as those employed by architects, graphic designers, and healthcare researchers -- really benefit from updating their computers regularly. The latest motherboard, RAM, and processor will certainly run their sophisticated software apps more smoothly.
But even workers who use less CPU-intensive programs -- but who multitask and run multiple apps at once throughout the day -- will be more productive. And we don’t need to tell you how that’s better for the bottom line.
Easier upgrades and replacements
Speaking of the bottom line, you may simply view updating IT devices as an additional expense, but that’s a bit of a false economy. Continuing to run “legacy” systems for too long might keep down costs now, but almost always results in having to spend more later.
Eventually, a component that’s no longer manufactured will fail or an important software application won’t function properly because it’s not compatible with your aged machine’s hardware specs. And then what?
Then you’ll be over a barrel. Downtime costs money, and oftentimes propping up a legacy system with stop-gap measures costs more than buying new machines -- new machines that you would have already had in place had a managed support provider like Charles IT been proactively monitoring and managing your hardware.
It goes without saying that businesses need firewalls and antivirus programs fully patched with the latest updates at all times. What may be news to you is that allowing them to become outdated -- even by just a day -- is tantamount to inviting the hackers in to have a look at your systems and sensitive information.
But what really excites hackers is if you let your "firmware" become outdated. Firmware is like an operating system for all your hardware devices, and it allows your router(s) -- those dusty little boxes stuck to the ceiling or to the rack in your server room -- to safely connect employee computers through your WiFi network to the Internet.
When routers aren’t running the latest firmware, or aren’t replaced every couple years like computers, your network and precious business data can be exploited in ways that will seriously harm your business, such as by having messages containing your admin password sent out via SMS.
Clearly, worshipping at the altar of high technology has benefits beyond stylishness. Particularly for decision-makers in a small- or mid-sized business that use all the usual tools of modernity to make money.
Imagine your day-to-day operations if, starting tomorrow, you replaced all your computers, smartphones, and routers with versions that were two years out of date. Now imagine upgrading to versions that were two years into the future. In the latter case, would you feel like you had a leg up on the competition?
We definitely think you would, and you’d be right to. So if upgrading sounds enticing, stay tuned for our next blog in which we’ll discuss end-of-year hardware purchases and how you can deduct the full price of new equipment from your gross income, thanks to a special IRS code.