4 ways you can confidently improve your IT infrastructure
It’s safe to say we all want to make the best decisions for our businesses. And there’s a lot of decisions to make, from financial choices to IT solutions to help us run like a well-oiled machine. So what happens if there’s an area you don’t feel particularly confident about – such as your IT infrastructure?
Maintaining your infrastructure should be an essential part of your IT strategy. That means making upgrades to everything from laptops to servers and being firmly on top of security software. But understanding what to upgrade and when can be a real challenge. When do laptops need to be changed? Which platforms are best for remote working and how will they affect data security?
We understand why many business owners put decisions around IT services off for as long as possible. Yet for anyone determined to provide the best possible service to their customers and stay ahead of the competition, failing to upgrade simply isn’t an option.
That’s why we’ve created this helpful business guide to improving your IT infrastructure. These tips and straight-forward advice will not only help you feel more confident; they’ll also explain the benefits of upgrading and help clarify what type of IT support is best suited to your business.
Why does upgrading IT infrastructure matter?
Letting your business tick along with an outdated infrastructure is a huge risk.
Not only will it inevitably lead to the kind of performance issues that can either slow down or completely stop operations, it also makes you an easy target for hackers. We’ve already discussed the benefits of upgrading your ageing IT and cyber security is a major factor in keeping your business safe. Old software and operating systems present huge security risks, leaving business-critical data wide open to cybercrime.
The truth is, with an old IT system you’ll need more specialist attention and extra time to keep it running efficiently. If your system hasn’t been reviewed in the last three years - or longer - then it’s highly likely that you’re at risk of a potentially devastating data breach. We’re also certain that you’ll be growing increasingly frustrated if your old tech is grinding to a halt and getting in the way of day-to-day work.
How to feel more confident making IT decisions
So, why do so many business leaders put their companies at risk by delaying IT upgrades? Well, it comes down to the myths around the difficulty of upgrading, concern over costs, and very often a fear of change.
Here are the top 4 ways we’d recommend approaching a potential upgrade to your IT systems. We want to help you feel more confident about making technology decisions, rather than being overwhelmed by them:
1. Be a step ahead
People are often reticent to infrastructure change; particularly if everything seems to be ticking along nicely. They know any change is going to mean a brief period of pain while people get to grips with a new way of working.
But the trouble with technology is that it has a way of letting you down at the most inconvenient moments, and that’s especially true when it’s going out of date. In January 2020, some of the most used business applications came to the end of their lives, including Windows 7, Office 2010, and Exchange 2010.
It’s hard to imagine that systems we relied on so heavily in our normal working day are already past their prime. Yet they’re now completely obsolete meaning no more support from Microsoft – at some point they will simply stop working and businesses who chose to bury their heads in the sand will find themselves dealing with major disruption. That’s why the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach is a dangerous one.
Success in business means thinking strategically and proactively. Instead of leaving everything until the last minute or avoiding the inevitable, change your mantra to “if it will make things better, let’s do it”.
Change happens and the only way to avoid disruption is to be open to new ideas.
2. Embrace change
Which brings us nicely to change, or more accurately, fear of change. Fear of the unknown puts many people off making big business decisions like upgrading their IT infrastructure. Which we completely understand; it’s both a big decision and a shift you might feel uncomfortable with.
But think of it this way. By upgrading your IT infrastructure you’ll be able to enjoy a more flexible, productive way of working that facilitates new initiatives. And most importantly, you’ll be keeping your business alive.
Change is inevitable, especially in the fast-moving world of IT. Business leaders who embrace new technology and aren’t afraid to step out of their comfort zones go on to thrive, while those who remain suspicious of change risk being left behind.
3. Brush up on your knowledge
Like any business decision, it’s important to understand the reasons behind an upgrade. You need to know the state of play to work out what to do next.
Since the successful management and upgrading of your IT assets starts with a detailed inventory, you need to keep track of every aspect of your IT infrastructure; no mean feat, particularly if technology isn’t really your thing.
If you don’t have a list of all your current hardware and software, check out the guide to help you get started on your inventory.
Once you’ve completed your list and you know how old your existing software and hardware is, you’ll find it much easier to determine which items you need to upgrade first. After all, this is all about mitigating business risk. Then, you’ll be able to consider your options and make a plan.
4. Get to grips with cost
One of the biggest reasons people avoid upgrading their IT infrastructure is the perceived cost - and a fear that the costs will outweigh the benefits. But upgrading – particularly when it comes to cloud-based solutions – can offer long term savings.
Moving to a full or part cloud solution allows many businesses to reduce their capital expenditure, saving substantial costs on equipment, software, and infrastructure. There’s also savings to be made on maintenance, licensing, and renewal fees too, not to mention IT staffing costs.
Upgrading also saves money simply by enabling staff to work to their best ability with efficient and powerful platforms. With downtime costing companies an average of £3.6 million every year and accounting for 545 hours of lost productivity, you simply can’t ignore the potential cost benefits of moving to a new way of working.
Should you upgrade your IT Infrastructure?
Infrastructure upgrades can offer huge advantages in terms of productivity, costs, growth, and security. But implementing all these changes isn’t easy. In fact, if you’re not a technology expert or you’re simply too busy running your business to get involved in IT, upgrading your infrastructure can look downright daunting.
The good news is that there are IT solutions out there which can help you explore all the possibilities that might work for you, and discover which upgrades are essential.
Whilst you can do this yourself, for time and ease, we recommend enlisting the help of a dedicated IT support team. Since you’re just getting started, you might only want advice to help you make an informed decision. Or you might want to fully outsource your IT.
Either way, choose an experienced IT support company who can help with infrastructure management, and will help you make an informed decision. Since this is an investment in your business, you want to ensure you get the most out of your IT services for years to come.
Here at Digital Orchard IT we offer a range of IT solutions and services, and we’ll help you feel more confident in making technology decisions. Get in touch for an informal and friendly chat to discuss your individual needs.