Something we all experience is that time passes much more quickly than we realize. I once remarked about this to my dad who responded, “Wait until you reach my age, Nick. It seems like I am putting up the Christmas lights every other weekend!”
This especially holds true for the life-cycle of business technology. If you don’t actively manage these assets, they will be obsolete before you have budgeted for their replacement. This can leave your business vulnerable to cyber security threats, diminished worker productivity and non-budgeted capital expenses.
Take your firewall for example. One dangerous possibility is that this critical security appliance has aged out of manufacturer’s support and has not been updated in months. This scenario leaves gaping holes in your network’s perimeter security, almost guaranteeing a breach.
“Every minute, we are seeing about half a million attack attempts that are happening in cyber space.” Derek Manky, Fortinet global security strategist
Even when you have maintained manufacturer’s support on this device and stayed current with updates, there may still be good reason to replace it. Technology is advancing rapidly. A next-generation firewall provides protections like Intrusion Prevention Service (IPS), URL filtering and Advanced Malware Protection (AMP). These security subscriptions deliver more depth of security and can prevent an intrusion. Who in your organization is managing such risks and actively evaluating opportunities for sensible improvements?
Aside from the life-cycle of specific devices like firewalls and Uninterrupted Power Supplies, there is also a software life-cycle to which close attention must be paid.
Consider your primary line-of-business database. When is the last time a full version upgrade was completed? At what point will your current version become unsupported by the software vendor? If the installed version falls out of support, your business will be in a vulnerable situation. If you have a serious issue, the only advice you’ll get from support is “upgrade to the latest version and call us back.” That is not something you want to hear when your software is limping along and business productivity has been impacted.
A quick side note to this. What I am about to describe is a big reason businesses choose Software as a Service (SaaS) options. Then the upgrade cycle no longer falls to the local IT team when it is managed by the software vendor.
There are several components to a software upgrade. It is important to track, anticipate and budget for it. This should be an expected cost of doing business and not a surprise that is painful to finance.
With server-based software, there is a domino effect. One change affects several others so be thorough with the planning.
- The software version needs to remain compatible with the underlying server Operating System
- The Operating System needs to be supported by its manufacturer
- The underlying virtualization technology must also stay current
- The server hardware must have enough resources to manage the upgrade process and the ongoing computing demand
How much do you value innovation and creativity? As new technology becomes available you may be able to meet your customers’ needs in new and innovative ways. Adopting new technologies helps maximize your company’s full potential.
A good managed service provider will track the life-cycle of your technology and provide extensive support in planning and budgeting for these important upgrades.