Technology changes at a frightening rate. The computers of the 1980s are long gone and businesses are far more likely to invest in SaaS these days than buy a CD in a plastic case. For a business, the thought of upgrading legacy IT systems is often a nightmare. Most businesses don’t want the hassle or expense of ripping out existing systems and buying new. They perceive it to be a major risk, especially if things go wrong – which can easily happen!
In this article, we are going to examine some of the issues you need to think about when upgrading business IT infrastructure.
As we have already touched upon, technology changes fast and systems soon become obsolete. Often, software and systems have an end-of-life point, after which the developers no longer keep it updated and parts are unavailable. Microsoft operating systems are a good example, yet millions of businesses still run on Windows XP because it would be too problematic to upgrade (despite the huge security risks).
It’s also a good idea to upgrade if you want to add new and innovative technology to your arsenal, such as cloud-based payment solutions.
Before you delve deep into the nitty-gritty of cabling and servers, it is wise to invest in change management software. A system like SysAid's ITIL change management can help you assess risks in advance of any upgrades so that any changes you do make to your business’s infrastructure are in line with business strategies. Such software can also be configured to suit your individual needs.
Assign at least one member of staff to manage the upgrade process. They can be a point of contact for contractors and employees who need advice.
Do a full audit of your IT systems and infrastructure, so you know exactly what you have in place currently. Decide what needs replacing, upgrading, or updating. Work on your budget and what your business needs from its infrastructure.
It’s important that the right foundations are in place from the get-go. These include cabling, electrical service and wiring, virtual LANs, and switches if you are opting for a non-cloud-based solution.
Moving systems into the cloud is often a smart move for businesses, as there are many benefits to cloud-based IT. Businesses large and small are increasingly scaling up their IT systems on cloud services. In most cases, there is no real reason not to. Indeed, an Intuit study found that 78% of businesses in the US are expected to be using cloud-based services by 2020.
One reason to upgrade your IT infrastructure is to make it more efficient and more secure. Where possible, consolidate your systems and upgrade to technology that offers faster speeds and fewer latency issues.
If you are upgrading a larger IT infrastructure, such as a data center, consult with experts who can draw up plans to maximize functionality. It may also be wise to speak to a cybersecurity expert, so that potential vulnerabilities are spotted before they become an issue.