The world of IT is one of progress. Indeed, it seems like less and less time is passing before a new ‘revolutionary’ piece of kit comes out that aims to ‘change the game’ for everyone.
Sometimes this is true; new tech comes out and it's a game-changer that everyone buys into, safe in the knowledge that it has indeed changed in the world of IT. But this isn't always the case. Sometimes, new isn’t better.
And so businesses find themselves faced with a challenge: should they upgrade their software and hardware, or keep going with their existing set-up? To upgrade your IT, or not to upgrade? That is the question.
Should your business upgrade its hardware?
In 2013, a Microsoft study found that 90 percent of customers would consider taking their business elsewhere if a business used outdated technology. Yet, just because something is new and shiny, doesn’t mean it’s good for your business.
The hardware you use needs to serve a purpose, it can’t just be aesthetically pleasing. It doesn’t matter if your premises look like a science fiction dream if you can’t do your job properly.
Despite this, there are a few reasons why upgrading your hardware is better than keeping to the status quo.
1. Not upgrading can waste money
Most people think that waiting to upgrade saves money. This is a common misconception.
Waiting instead of upgrading may help you save on the purchase of new technology, but it won't be long before you start to fall behind. The longer you wait, the higher the learning curve for your staff will be when you do eventually cave to new tech. And by that time, your competitiveness in the market may have suffered.
Waiting costs you more in time and training than an incremental upgrade does. The key takeaway here is don't revolutionise; take it one step at a time, but don’t wait too long to start.
2. It future-proofs your business
If you only react when bad things happen, you might keep your business running - but it makes your life more difficult.
If you're proactive, however, you can make your life easier while future-proofing your business. Instead of being reactive, you're looking to the future and preparing for it.
What we're getting at here is the fact that there is always new technology that can improve your productivity and make you more competitive. If you don't take advantage of it fast enough, you will soon find your competition has overtaken you.
3. Upgrading hardware can help your cyber security status
When it comes to hardware, an upgrade can be great for your cyber security.
One of the best ways to improve your security is to update all hardware that is more than three years old. New desktops, laptops and tablets have better parts; they have better memory, hard disks and processors.
If you can afford it, and it helps your business, you should upgrade.
The recent Spectre and Meltdown processor flaws are perfect examples of just how important hardware upgrades can be. Computer researchers discovered two major security flaws affecting processing chips made by Intel, AMD and ARM, putting billions of computers and devices at risk. The flaws allow malicious programs to steal sensitive business data processed in a computer's memory, meaning hackers can gain access to your passwords, emails, instant messages and other business-critical documents. For those that these flaws affect, a simple hardware upgrade would have saved them a lot of trouble.
If there’s anything to learn from this, it’s that businesses shouldn’t hold on to their old hardware just because it works right now. It’s better to upgrade than to hold on to old stuff just for the sake of it. It may seem like just another expense, but it’s not. It’s an investment in the future of your business, one that keeps you secure, competitive and productive.
Should your business upgrade its software?
We’ve covered hardware, but what about the driving force behind your IT? What about your software? The good news is that this is less black and white: with software you can’t afford to wait. Our advice is that, if there is a software update available, you should implement it. Always.
Here are a few reasons why software updates are vital:
1. They contain essential security patches
According to the National Audit Office (NAO) fraud cost the private sector £144 billion in 2016 after almost 2 million cyber-related fraud incidents. Don’t become part of this statistic. Make sure you update your software.
This is necessary as each release improves security. You need to keep up with your updates, or else a hacker’s capability to infiltrate our business will outweigh your ability to stop them. Last year, the WannaCry attack wreaked havoc on businesses across the world, and affected the NHS on a national scale. They hadn't updated their software, and they paid the price for it.
2. They update and improve overall performance
Updating your software ensures you get the best performance, improving productivity and making life easier for you and your employees.
Updates bring new features and improvements that make the software easy to use, bringing real value. For example, updating your sales and marketing software can drive business growth and revenue.
3. They prevent incompatibility and data loss
When the business world moves forward with new software, you need to keep up, lest you fall behind. If you have old software your files may not be compatible with the new software. This means spending time converting data and giving clients extra work just to view information.
This can affect your reputation and negatively impact your customer relationships. If you can’t do the work well, customers may lose faith in your abilities. One of the worst things you can do is seem inept in front of clients, so make sure you have the best tools possible.
Always forward, never back
Change is inevitable, but what is not is our reaction to it.
Take control of any fear you may have and move your business forward. Whether it’s upgrading your hardware or software, know that your business deserves the best. It deserves the best possible chance to impress customers and increase revenue. It deserves the best equipment and services to guarantee quality. It deserves to face the future with confidence, assured it has everything it needs to achieve success.
- How to Manage the Hidden Costs of your Next IT Upgrade
- IT application upgrade checklist for growing companies