Small businesses are known to stretch the dollar and save costs on everything, including network infrastructure upgrades. While this might feel like a financially responsible option at first, it leads to both direct and indirect losses creeping up on your organization. Sadly, more than a third of SMEs have computers, among other network infrastructure, that are more than four years old, according to Inc.
Other than the need for constant upgrades and maintenance, the slowness of such network devices can lead to losing customers and investors. Even worse, most of these physical devices might struggle to support modern day software, which will leave such software prone to security risks and downtime. In most cases, upgrading the entire network infrastructure of your organization will be a small price to pay for efficiency.
Here is when upgrades are essential and what to concentrate on:
When Ignoring Upgrades Is Unwise?
The world of networking using either your organization’s intranet or extranet is ever dynamic. With issues such as BYOD coming into the forefront, there has never been a better time for IT departments to focus on keeping their network infrastructure as updated as possible, according to the DNSstuff IT Tool Reviews website. Here are two common scenarios where ignoring upgrades will only lead to losses:
- Business Is Expanding
Most small businesses buy basic IT equipment first to at least have a foothold in their industry. While these might be effective at the time, they will not suffice as the business grows. Everything from traffic to network users will grow as well as the introduction of new software such as network monitoring software. Such changes will require a business to overhaul their current infrastructure to pave the way for advances in increasing business needs.
- The Need for Space and Data Consolidation
Whether your organization is looking forward to cutting costs or downsizing, virtualization promises to help in a lot of ways. Other than reducing reliance on vendors, it makes it easier to launch IT assets without too much hassle vis-à-vis having to wait for ages for a single workload to be launched.
Sadly, virtualization demands a lot more from the network infrastructure through increasing network traffic. As such, IT departments have to plan for an upgrade of their infrastructure unless they have a tight budget.
It is unwise to overhaul your business infrastructure only to do the same again two years down the line. When making any upgrade to the infrastructure, you need to have the future of your organization in mind. For instance, your upgrades need to be ready to handle future changes to your organization as well as any technology that might come with this change.
Ideally, this requires detailed capacity planning with enough visibility into the future of your organization and emerging trends in your industry. You should work with an IT advisor to develop a network map and the necessary hardware inventory to both build a blueprint for future changes and a baseline for current needs. While you might lack the budget to fulfill all these requirements, this will at least give you some insights when making incremental upgrades.
If you are looking to walk the virtual world path, you need to have a formidable network infrastructure. While virtualization will bring out immediate benefits, it will require you to expand the bandwidth of your data centers. This means you might have to upgrade your network switches with at least 10 gigabits depending on your current capacity.
If your goal is only to virtualize a few blade servers, it might be enough to use a 48- or 24-port gigabit switch. Although upgrading might feel like an uphill task at first, such moves will both save cost and improve the competitiveness of your business.
If the internet plays a center stage role in your business, then a network downtime of more than 30 minutes can be detrimental to your bottom line. By diversifying the network connections that your business has, you can limit the chances of facing complete network outages – in most cases, investing in multiple ISP connections will suffice.
On the other hand, you should also have a backup modem to provide alternate connectivity during periods of downtime. Luckily, most modern routers have backup capabilities which make them pivotal in disaster recovery and supporting business continuity.
Although upgrades are a great choice, not all budgets can support them. Understanding your budget constraints and network needs can be pivotal in prioritizing the upgrades to make. Whichever path you walk, the above tips will be vital for success.