When carefully planned and executed, a shorter hardware replacement cycle keeps maintenance and warranty costs at a minimum by letting the manufacturer bear the costs of keeping your machines running. For instance, with a three-year warranty, your initial purchase price (IPP) on a laptop computer is your TCO. However, after three years, the warranty expires and your TCO starts to climb as the risk of service outages increases and maintenance costs are no longer covered by the manufacturer. As a result, years four and five add incrementally much more to TCO than did the first three years.
Is your recently purchased equipment running slower than you would like? While waiting for your next technology replacement cycle, there are simple things you can do to help boost theefficiency of your current PCs and servers. For instance, you should periodically:• Spring-clean hard drives• Run maintenance tasks (e.g., defragment drives)• Uninstall applications that are no longer used• Run virus scans, even if you have anti-virus software
As insignificant as these tasks may seem, they can help boost the efficiency and speed of your machines dramatically. They can also keep you from having to buy new ones before your next scheduled refresh while boosting employee productivity and improving customer service. Another area in which companies can often make significant improvement is system security.Something as simple as “locking down” (a simple measure that prohibits users from installing software or changing system settings) all PCs and laptops prevents malicious software from being unintentionally installed in users’ machines—software that can lead to virus outbreaks,security breaches and productivity drains. In fact, according to the analyst firm Gartner, this security measure alone will reduce a company’s total cost of ownership on a PC or laptop by 42to 45 percent.
Software and Operating Systems
Just because the software industry is continually rolling out new upgrades doesn’t mean you need to follow their lead. Waiting at least six to 18 months before rolling out an operating system upgrade or an upgrade to an existing software package is a wise move. In many cases, not only are there often hidden training costs involved with a software upgrade, but there are performance issues to consider—from the standpoint of both your existing hardware and the instability inherent in most new software upon its release.
When it comes to keeping your network secure, the best solution for most companies is to out source the function to a hosted security provider. For one, the threat of phishing attacks,viruses and data leaks is higher than ever, and new threats surface daily. In fact, the enterprise gateway security company Secure Computing recently reported that the number of spam messages doubled from 60 billion in 2006 to 120 billion by November 2007.2 This is a troubling pattern, because spam often carries viruses and trojans and takes up so much valuable server space, which slows down the network. Another reason to outsource this function
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