I like video games. Remember Pong, Breakout and Space Invaders? I would hook up my Atari game system to my black and white television and play for hours. Years later my kids introduced me to Nintendo, but those games wouldn’t play on my Atari, so we had to buy an entirely new gaming system. Then Super Nintendo came out, then Nintendo 64, and eventually Wii. Each time a new system came out we waited until the price came down out of the stratosphere and then added it to our collection.
We discovered that once a new system was released, it became more and more difficult to find anyone who could fix any problems with the older model. Fortunately, if a system broke and we couldn’t find an affordable repair man, it wasn’t too difficult to find other activities while we waited to purchase the next generation of games and gaming consoles.
Just as video gaming consoles have evolved, so have computers. The newest software often will not run on older machines. And, as older computers get well… older, they are at greater risk of failing. In the business world, it’s not that easy to find an alternative activity or method of working. Your computer is critical in the day-to-day operations of your office; if it breaks you can’t wait to get it fixed or replaced.
Although there are no guarantees even a new computer won’t fail, here are some guidelines to help keep your system running uninterrupted and prepare you for future replacements.
Run regular backups. Your data is only as good as your last backup—I cannot emphasize that enough. If your computer system fails and your last backup was six months ago, you will lose six months worth of data. In addition, periodically take backups off-site. If your building is destroyed and all your backups were in the building then you will lose all your data.
Know what you have. Identify and document your hardware model and operating software with purchase dates, model numbers, release versions and serial numbers. Then you will be better prepared to have an informed discussion with your IAT representative or other computer professional if your computer experiences a problem or when it gets older.
Plan ahead to replace your computer system. Make sure that you are financially prepared to make the investment in a newer model when your computer system reaches its operating limits. In this industry, a typical computer’s life expectancy is about 3-5 years.
Have a service plan for your hardware. For new servers, hardware providers usually have a service plan available that includes a warranty and hardware maintenance. These are typically 3 year plans, but you generally have the option of extending it another year or two.
Keep an eye on the future. Servers and operating software change—from every few months to every few years. Stay in the loop so you know what is expected to be released and the possible benefits for your business. A good way to stay informed is to attend IAT user and training conferences.
Your business is not a game, and you can’t just put it on the shelf until the latest and greatest computer becomes affordable. Protect your current computer investment and plan ahead so that you’re ready to upgrade every few years. If you have questions about your computer hardware or operating system or would like to know what the future looks like, contact an IAT sales representative.
This article was written by Vic