If you’re like most small businesses, you replace computers when they catch fire or someone, typically a vendor or your IT person, tells you that the hardware must be replaced to continue operations.
Shockingly, this is not the most economical or efficient method of managing hardware. The problem is that most people don’t think about these purchases in terms of a lifecycle–you just buy a computer when you need a computer.
That is the mindset that we need to change, not only for financial and productivity reasons, but also for compliance reasons. Every small business should have a Technology Lifecycle policy.
So, what does Technology Lifecycle actually mean?
To put it simply, it is a budgeting plan for technology. No one likes to be hit with unexpected expenses; they always occur at the worst possible times. By implementing a Technology Lifecycle policy, whenever you purchase new technology, you’re looking ahead to when it will need to be replaced and planning for it. Having a budget in place to take care of these expenses is almost as good as not hearing employees complaining about computer slowness or auditors telling you that your old hardware is out of compliance.
I know, we’re talking about replacing technology that was just purchased. It’s not something you want to think about, but you should. Why?
Unplanned downtime. Data Loss. Failed Audits. Unexpected expenses. Employee frustration–the list goes on and on.
Long Term Plan
Aside from the occasional hardware failure, the lifecycle of technology is measured in years. That is one of the reasons many people find it to be difficult, but you shouldn’t. Although most small businesses are looking weeks ahead, not years, you’re still budgeting. Income. Expenses. Overhead. Payroll. Debt. All of it has to be accounted for, and this is where your Technology Lifecycle goes. By adding this to your budget, you’ll be able to stay on top of your businesses technology needs.
- Mobile Phone: 2-3 years
- Desktop PC: 5-6 years
- Laptop PC: 4-5 years
- Monitor: 8 years
- Networking Hardware: 8 years or when support ends
- Printers: 5-6 years (based on usage)
- Servers: 4-5 years
These recommendations take into consideration factors such as responsiveness, security, end of life support, and increasing chance of hardware failure. By the time devices near the ages listed above, sluggishness is common and data loss or outright failure grows increasingly likely.
Technology Lifecycle Policy
The goal of a Technology Lifecycle Policy is to improve overall business operations and reduce exposure to security risks. It will include the full lifecycle of the device:
If you need help coming up with a Technology Lifecycle Policy, we do that. Let’s talk.
I’ve always had a love of working with technology, being fortunate enough to have grown up with a grandfather who taught me how to fix things for myself and not be afraid to jump in and get my hands dirty. Over the last three decades I’ve worked as a technician, trainer, technical writer, and manager with small businesses, enterprise level organizations, and government, picking up a lot of skills on my journey. In addition, I’m an author, having published multiple works available online and in print.