Gartner’s research predicts that in 2020 alone, firms will spend $3.46 trillion on information technology (IT).
That’s a lot of money to spend without a plan on the return an organization expects. And yet, when you refuse to invest in updated network infrastructure, you’re flushing money (via negative opportunity costs and efficiencies) down the drain.
If you don’t know how to tell when a network upgrade is due, here are six compelling signs to help you figure it out.
1. Your Software Becomes Outdated
When you find that much of your software has become outdated, that’s a clear sign that an infrastructure upgrade is due. While it may be tempting to keep operating without updating, obsolete software poses a few risks.
Whenever a developer no longer supports a software version, it means bugs and vulnerabilities go unchecked. No new updates roll out to patch known threats and glitches, which places any IT Project you have at risk.
For your business, that means operating with glaring security holes that you’re guaranteed won’t receive a fix. Would you leave your front and back doors unlocked every day after the workers go home? That’s precisely what you do when relying on outdated software.
Even if poor security doesn’t convince you, you should know that outdated software introduces unnecessary friction. For example, if you fail to use newer software versions, you’ll soon find platform fragmentation occurring. Not all platforms and/or devices that your team uses will run the obsolete software.
2. Your Technology Takes Longer to Operate
One of the most immediate telltale signs of outdated infrastructure is that it takes longer for your technology to perform the same operations. Frequently crashing software, programs that take too long to load or refresh are just warning signs.
For new or smaller firms, the IT infrastructure budget can be slim. Consequently, it’s common to find such businesses implementing piecemeal infrastructure upgrades as time goes by.
While that may be budget-friendly, it does take a toll on your operations. Over time, you’ll notice that things move slower with the same equipment you’ve been using. The newer infrastructure elements will struggle to communicate with more outdated equipment. If you happen to rely on your infrastructure for mission-critical issues, you’ll run into trouble.
When dealing with upgrade cycles for your IT infrastructure, a practical rule of thumb is to wait for between two to five years. Beyond that point, your software and hardware will start being long in the tooth.
3. When You Notice Your Users Are Frustrated
Technology that’s not operating as expected causes a lot of angst among your users. If you continually keep frustrating your users, you soon won’t have a business to speak of.
If you notice constant reports of frustration by your staff due to poor performing hardware and/or software, it’s time to consider an upgrade. An accurate way to assess such a need is by running a survey among your workers.
As you analyze their feedback, don’t only zero in on the immediate need to upgrade. Instead, listen to what they say about how easy or hard it is to use the infrastructure as well.
For example, your business may be document-heavy with your employees having to craft similar documents repeatedly. In such a case, it’s easier to invest in relevant document automation technology that saves your team time and will be easier to update.
How your infrastructure impacts your end-users is also critical when determining the need for an upgrade.
For example, it’s common knowledge that 40% of online customers will abandon your website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. That translates to a lot of lost customer dollars. If you use a slow server, you’ll need to upgrade it to staunch the bleeding.
4. If You’re Still Not Using Cloud Computing
Cloud technology is now a must-have for any business running IT infrastructure. Cloud computing makes it much easier for your staff to collaborate as they can use the same software and even work on the same digital asset or project without compromising on security.
If you need to scale up your operations, cloud technology helps you deploy such changes rapidly. Also, cloud-based technology means your backups will always be up to date as they sync automatically to the cloud.
When you have team members using different operating systems, updating to cloud-based technology helps keep everyone in sync.
5. If Your Energy Bills Are High
Outdated equipment does contribute to higher energy bills due to the lack of more power-efficient components. If you find your energy bill is regularly skyrocketing despite taking measures to operate more efficiently, it may be worthwhile to consider upgrading your infrastructure.
6. Poor Visibility Into Your Network
On average, a cyber-attack will cost a business $200,000, and poor visibility into your network sets you up for a potential breach. At any given time, you need to know who is accessing your system and what information they are interacting with. You also need to know the types of devices anyone that can access your network uses.
If you rely on a legacy system, the security measures prevalent back when you installed it won’t suffice today. Things like firewalls and UTM devices can’t beat the sophisticated modern malicious actor.
Therefore, updating your network can help you gain a top-down view of any interaction others have with your system. Additionally, today’s tools and equipment can help you check for potential vulnerabilities even as you keep an eye on infrastructure activity.
An Up-To-Date Network Infrastructure Is Mission Critical
Not spending on keeping your network infrastructure up-to-date is akin to wasting money. Avoid running on obsolete infrastructure to avoid suffering lost opportunities and slowdowns in your whole operation.
Keeping your IT infrastructure in top shape is one of many functions that make for a successful firm. Our website is an online newspaper that helps you stay in the know. Check out more of our articles for financial, economic, business, and stock news to sharpen your entrepreneurial edge.
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