No hardware or software lasts forever. A device, program, or system once considered “state of the art” will eventually turn obsolete not just through wear and tear, but as other technological advancements emerge on the market. Thus, updating your business technology is a necessity to ensure smooth operations and parity with competitors.
Explore this guideline on how to maintain your business technology, when to upgrade your assets, and when to replace them altogether.
Updating your software
Refreshing your software involves installing new versions, patches, or fixes to improve functionality, security, or to address bugs. This practice typically aims to optimize the performance of your existing apps without changing their core systems.
How often should you update your software?
Maintaining software is a more frequent process compared to upgrading hardware, as updates and configurations are often rolled out on a regular basis. Be sure to promptly install any new fixes or patches released by developers, to help secure your systems against emerging digital threats. These updates will typically identify and address any vulnerabilities within your software, eliminating these risks before they’re exploited by malicious actors.
Consider prioritizing essential assets based on criticality, such as operating systems, antivirus programs, and mission-critical applications that handle sensitive data. You could then establish a regular review schedule aligned with the update frequency of each software. For programs with annual updates, plan yearly reviews, while for those with frequent patches, consider monthly evaluations. Having a calendar program would be handy in streamlining this process, helping you track and plan updates more efficiently.
Automate your updates
To ensure your programs are constantly secured and up to date, consider enabling automatic updates whenever possible. This helps your software stay current without manual intervention, minimizing downtime. You could also avoid further disruption by scheduling these updates during periods of lower activity, such as after-hours or on weekends.
Lastly, before initiating these updates, be sure to create backup points as a precautionary measure. This offers you a safety net in case issues arise during the update process, allowing for smooth data recovery.
Upgrading your hardware
Upgrading your hardware usually involves enhancing the physical components of a computer system. This could include upgrading a hardware device’s processors, memory, or storage, all of which help improve its overall performance and capabilities. Unlike software updates, hardware upgrades require the installation of new devices and equipment, often leading to more significant financial costs.
How often should you upgrade your hardware?
Fortunately, despite being larger investments, hardware upgrades are typically much less frequent than software updates. Such replacements are often only carried out in the case of damaged or outdated technology, or to align with the changing technological demands of one’s industry.
As a general guideline, companies should consider reviewing their hardware every 4–5 years, assessing the compatibility of current devices with recent operating systems, how well they align with current business needs, their performance, and their physical condition. Examine the current functionality of your software programs, as aging hardware may struggle to run the latest applications. Additionally, take the time to review warranties and guarantees to see if they are nearing expiration and if continuing the current coverage is the most cost-effective option.
Schedule hardware replacements
Regular assessments of your hardware allows for a more staggered, strategic execution of any necessary upgrades or replacements. This helps ensure smoother transitions to new technologies and minimizes any potential disruptions, as opposed to carrying out a single, comprehensive overhaul.
A rolling schedule for hardware upgrades can also allow for trial and error with new hardware without jeopardizing your business’s overall productivity. Moreover, you’ll get to spread out your financial investment over an extended period, helping you manage costs more effectively as well as gradually adjust your hardware choices where necessary.
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