2019 is coming to a close and you’ve got some budgeted cash to spend. What should you do with it?
Server or cloud?
If you already have a server and it’s got some age on it (say, more than eight years old), your IT support folks are probably pitching for a new one. Every purchase is an opportunity to move forward with technology. So before you commit $3,000-$5,000 and up on a replacement server, factor in if this is the right time to take a step toward cloud hosting.
One key to making this decision is the hidden costs of both options.
Maintaining a server is expensive and time consuming. Constant management — particularly patches, fixes, and updates — on a near daily basis to protect from cyberattacks is required. We’ve certainly seen in the past few years the risks of poor patching policy (think Equifax). Servers also require a secure, controlled environment and — and this can’t be overstated — offsite backup and recovery for disaster preparedness.
Most businesses have some cloud hosting already, although you may not think of it that way, such as CRM online. But evaluating a more expansive cloud conversion involves some calculation on your part — the amount of data that moves, the availability you require, the integration of cloud services with any online servers you will still have.
Desktop or laptop
Is there still a place for desktops? Absolutely. For everyone? Maybe not.
Don’t look for the best “deal,” look for the best fit for the work that needs to be done. One of the best advantages of laptops is how light they have become. Some of that is material, and some of that is integrated design that puts all the electronics onto a single motherboard. That often means individual components cannot be replaced if they fail or an upgrade — such as higher-end graphics card — are required.
More mobile devices in a business also make it more challenging to manage patching, virus, and application updates. Investigate options for mobile-device management solutions. Laptops are an even bigger challenge as they connect to any number of networks outside of your control and, as such, are much more vulnerable to malware, viruses and hacking.
Laptop or tablet
Tablets are trying, but they aren’t there yet. Still, if you have some end-of-year spending ahead, consider a few places where a tablet can make a big difference.
A number of use cases can be made for tablets in sales and client interactions. A tablet paired with an HDMI plug-in receiver like Chromecast, Amazon Fire, or the slightly larger Apple TV, can set up and connect your presentation to anything from a smart board to a TV screen in minutes with less fuss and troubleshooting than a computer.
Event sign in, form management, data collection from customers or employees are all good examples. Any business might be well served by having a few readily available tablets for these kinds of needs as they arise.