Your 5-year-old desktop computer just presented you with the “blue screen of death.” The server in your office closet is making a funny noise. It’s happening – your IT equipment is getting to the end of its life. In the IT world, the inevitable “death” of equipment is also referred to as “EOL” (end of life). It’s not as ominous as it sounds, though – at least if you have a plan.
Replacing each piece of equipment with a newer model is not your only option today. Cloud computing has opened up an entire world of choices for small, medium and large businesses.
Where businesses get into trouble is when they wait to make a plan until equipment has completely failed. In this panic situation where, for example, you can’t access critical files because your office server has crashed, many business owners and office managers make their IT decisions in a panic.
Don’t get stuck in this situation.
As you begin your planning, consider these three things:
- Business growth
1. Expense – Where can you save money?
If you own your IT equipment, it is always going to be your responsibility to maintain it and eventually replace it. Are you considering this ongoing cost in your budget?
Moving your business from the office server to the cloud may seem like more of an expense because you’re then paying a monthly fee, but in reality it will save you quite a bit of money.
In fact, industry analysts are now saying you’ll save at least 50% on your IT support services alone. Any increase in OPEX monthly spending is more than offset by not having to spend money on maintenance and equipment replacement.
When you choose to use cloud services for your business – such as cloud-based data storage, virtual desktops, and cloud-based software and applications – you can also expect a lot less downtime for your business. And I’m sure you already know how much downtime costs you.
Cloud solutions also save you money in utilities. The money you spend in electricity alone will be affected when you are no longer running a server with an uninterrupted power supply, backup device, and air conditioning to keep it all cool.
2. Business Growth – What will you need in the near future?
Every time your business grows – whether that is adding a new employee or expanding to a larger office space – your IT requirements grow with it.
When you own all of your own IT equipment, you have to buy more of it (and thus maintain and replace more) every time your business grows.
Then what if your business shrinks? It happens. Sometimes you need to downsize temporarily. Now you’re stuck with all of that unused (and aging) equipment.
When you use cloud-based IT solutions, you can expand and contract your IT requirements on the fly. You can add and remove users and buy more data storage space with the click of a button (or a single phone call). And you can grow your business without the worry that you’re getting stuck with extra equipment and software if you then need to downsize later on.
When you use cloud solutions, instead of focusing on your IT infrastructure you can focus on growing your business and increasing your profits.
3. Space – Do you really have the room for more equipment?
Let’s face it. Physical IT equipment takes up space. The more servers you need, the more space you need to house them in – and the more air conditioning units are required to keep them cool.
Maybe when you first started your business you could keep the server in the office closet. But now that you’ve grown a bit larger, you might even be renting extra space for that equipment.
You can save yourself the room (and the cost of the room) by moving your business to the cloud.
With cloud services and cloud storage, the servers are housed in a highly secure offsite data center that is owned, maintained and managed by a qualified vendor. You have 24/7, reliable and secure network access to those servers – without those servers taking up room on your premises.
Cloud computing is also a greener solution. It enables energy efficiency, reduces environmental footprint and requires less equipment to run workloads. The pay-per-use infrastructure of most cloud computing solutions also encourages businesses to use only what they need. Finally, many data centers (ours included) use renewable energy sources .
Make Your Plan
Should you replace your IT equipment or move to the cloud? Well, here at Fluid we think that when your IT equipment goes EOL, it’s a great time to migrate to the cloud. But no matter what you choose, plan your IT structure and budget now, before your equipment starts to fail and it impacts your profitability. If you don’t know where to start, this article about building your IT from the foundation up may help with that.
Whether you decide to replace that failing hardware or move your business to a cloud solution, it will save you a lot of time and frustration if you talk to an expert while you’re making your IT plans. We would love to be that expert resource for you and your business. Give us a call and let’s talk about where your business is going and how your IT infrastructure can support your goals.