With so many things going on in your business, we’re guessing that from time to time you lose track of the warranty status on your computer hardware. Perhaps you’ve never really kept tabs on your hardware warranties at all, as is the case in many businesses. If so, we strongly recommend that you take stock of your current hardware, check for any devices or equipment that may be beyond their warranty date, and take steps to replace them.
The longer that you go using hardware that is past it’s warranty date, the more likely it is that you’re going to run into incompatibilities that hurt your business.
Why do we say that? Because out of warranty hardware has reached almost epidemic proportions and has the potential to do businesses real harm. According to CISCO integrator Softchoice, up to 73% of companies are using hardware that’s beyond its warranty date, a status that’s sometimes referred to as end of life (EOL) in the IT services field. With our decades of experience servicing businesses in the Albany and Charlotte areas, we know how serious a problem this can be.
Your computer hardware has a planned lifecycle. It’s designed to serve a function for a set period of time and then get replaced in a timely way to make way for its successor. There are many ways that ignoring this lifecycle can affect your business, here are a few of the most important.
Hardware vendors are constantly patching the firmware of their equipment to make sure it complies with the latest regulations and cybersecurity threats. When hardware reaches its EOL, it no longer receives those important updates. That means any new malware or cybersecurity exploits that are developed after your hardware enters its EOL phase will have a much easier time infiltrating your systems, and may even be built specifically to exploit those weaknesses.
The longer that you go using hardware that is past it’s warranty date, the more likely it is that you’re going to run into incompatibilities that hurt your business. These incompatibilities can occur between hardware devices, as well as between hardware and software applications, which makes locating and remediating them very difficult.
Finding replacement parts for equipment that’s reached its end of life phase gets exponentially harder and more expensive. In most cases, you’re left with no other option but to pay for second-hand parts that come with no guarantee they’re going to last — or even function correctly when they’re first installed. This drives up the cost of your maintenance, and intensifies the instability in your systems.
We feel the topic of out of warranty servers deserves its own mention. There’s acute danger in continuing to run a server after its warranty has expired. Servers are the foundation on which all your business-critical applications depend, and having those applications run on a server that’s beyond its warranty puts those applications — and your business — at risk.
First, because your server connects to a wide variety of devices and applications, the chance of an incompatibility arising intensifies greatly. What’s more, those incompatibilities have a higher chance of affecting services and employees than if a single PC or mobile device is out of warranty.
Moreover, servers are often constructed with parts that are custom made for each model. Because the hardware vendor has no obligation to provide you with replacement parts, finding key components can be even more difficult than with other devices. This means that not only will your downtime be more disruptive, but recovering from it may take much longer than if you were fixing a less critical device.
There are two ways to approach the management of the hardware assets in your company, the proactive and the reactive. The reactive approach involves finding solutions to problems as they arise. This strategy often leaves you scrambling for resources – whether they be human, technical, or financial – to get your devices upgraded and replaced. Because of the stress and potential downtime involved, we don’t recommend it.
The proactive approach is based on the lifecycle of your network equipment. It involves vigilantly documenting and tracking not just the warranty date of your hardware, but information such as device registrations, licenses, and serial numbers. We can also help you properly dispose of unwanted hardware, to avoid a costly data privacy or compliance breach.
Having a single, centralized source for all this information helps your business understand which devices are approaching their warranty due dates. This speeds the replacement of hardware assets and ensures that if something does go wrong, you have the information you need to restore normal operations quickly. Not only does this save time and money, it also ensures that your hardware won’t quietly lead you to catastrophe.
There’s great benefit in proactively managing your hardware warranties. To maximize the benefit of that effort, you’ll want to make it part of a broader effort to stay current with all your IT assets, both hardware and software.
We recently wrote a blog post about the impending EOL of Windows 7, which is going to affect the huge number of companies that haven’t yet made the switch. While you may not be running Windows 7 on your systems (we hope not), are there applications in your network that haven’t been updated and are causing you trouble?
Many of the same problems that out-of-warranty hardware creates are also created by software that hasn’t been updated, including the greatly increased risk of cybersecurity infiltration.
The Complete Network team has been helping businesses manage their hardware and software assets for decades. If you want to take a more proactive stance with your hardware warranty management, but aren’t quite sure where to start, get in touch by sending us an email at [email protected], or by calling us at 877.877.1840. We’re happy to answer any questions you have, and get you on the road to greater stability.
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