The Problem with Outdated Hardware

Technology is evolving faster than most businesses can handle. While few businesses can continuously have the latest-and-greatest advances in hardware, it is important to have machinery and devices that are not ancient. If you are clinging to old hardware because you subscribe to the philosophy “If it’s not broken, why fix it?”, then you may have some problems down the line. Here are some of the risks of keeping and maintaining outdated hardware.

 

  • Security Risks – If your technology is aging, you may not be able to install the latest software, and that means your security is at risk. The older it is, the more vulnerable it is. Updating means your company will have newer and stronger security protocols.

 

  • Moving Parts – Hardware that has moving parts have the potential to break down. Take for instance, disks. For every spin those tapes or disks take they are one step closer to having a mechanical failure. Are you willing to risk it with your company data?

 

  • Loss of Competitiveness – If your business field is tight and the competition is fierce, you may want to stay ahead of the pack with newer technology.

 

  • Loss of Business – If your hardware fails it is possible to lose infrastructure and possibly clients who are relying on your product or service. Investing in newer hardware may help you stay at the top of the game and keep your business running smoothly. Old hardware can mean service downtime that you may not be able to afford.

 

In addition to these reasons why your company should consider upgrading your machinery and hardware, productivity and efficiency can be at risk with older tech. Call M&H Consulting if you are looking to invest in new hardware and need help designing and purchasing.

Business Computer Guide – the Laptop

Shopping for a business laptop? Sounds easy, but if your office debates about the minutia of things like Coke vs Pepsi, Arrow vs the Flash, Desktop vs Laptop and PC vs Mac then you might have a serious decision on your hands.

Desktops offer a great value, especially if you are investing is a large number for your workforce. Laptops, however, allow employees and business leadership to have crucial applications and files at all times: at the office, at home, and on the road. And while, in general, a laptop is still more pricey than a similarly configured desktop, the price gap has narrowed enough that you won’t have to spend a lot more to gain that convenience and motility. It is for that reason that more and more businesses are opting for the accessibility factor of buying a business laptop.

Laptops for Business

If that is where your business has landed, in your quest for new computers, the choice comes down to . . . . which laptop is the best for the type of business you run? This is an entirely different set of considerations before making that purchase. Since a laptop will be used on the fly and for things like presentations and graphics, you will need to take into consideration durability, security and multimedia functions. Here is a list of things to consider before making your business laptop purchase.

  • Choose an Operating System – There are three major laptop operating systems that you may want to choose from: Windows, OS X, and Chrome OS. Windows 10, the latest version of the operating system, comes with a handful of new features that can boost your productivity. However, many consumers prefer OS X, favoring its slick design and integration with Apple’s iPhones and iPads. Chrome OS doesn’t run Mac or Windows software; instead, it relies on internet applications. This decision will likely be one of your more difficult depending upon the applications and services you will need to successfully run your business.
  • Durability – Obviously, a laptop is meant to go from place-to-place and handle movement and potential bumps along the way. Therefore, durability is a huge thing to consider when choosing a laptop. Almost every business-class notebook comes with a shock-mounted hard drive that’s designed to cushion vibration when setting the machine down. A solidly constructed laptop will save you money in the long run.
  • Security – Business laptops may carry sensitive business data including credit card and personal information about clients or employees. For your everyday laptops around the office, most business buyers will be well-served by strong Windows and Web passwords and passphrases. But, for salespeople, managers, and executives who have sensitive client, customer, or employee information on their laptops, layered security consisting of a biometric reader and drive encryption is a must. You may want to consider security items like BitLocker (Windows), fingerprint scanner or a Smart card.
  • Extras – There are many extras that you can swap in and out of laptops that may give you wiggle room when it comes to software that you really need. Upgrading battery components and length of warranties may also be an extra that you are willing to pay for.

Care for your Keyboard

 

A computer keyboard is probably the most used part of your desktop or laptop. Without it, navigating your computer becomes fairly difficult, if not impossible. Unfortunately, your keyboard is also the most abused and overlooked part of your work space. How many times have you eaten lunch or a snack over your keyboard only to lose bits of your sandwich or chips into the dark recesses beneath the keys or, worse yet, spilled drops of your coffee on the board. Add to the crumbs and spills, the natural buildup of gunk and the keyboard is like its own little ecosystem. Therefore, cleaning and caring for your keyboard should be a top priority. Here are some quick tips to caring for your keyboard.

 

  • Avoid getting the keyboard wet. I know, I know. . . . drinking your morning coffee at your desk is a part of how you function each day. So, try putting a cover on your cup or putting it in a non spill mug. Liquids can short circuit a keyboard. If you do spill turn the keyboard over and shake out the liquid as much as possible. Use a can of compressed air to blow out the liquid from between the keys. Always unplug it if you think it could short out.
  • Use a transparent cover. Using a transparent cover can keep dust and unwanted debris from getting between the keys but will allow you to continue to type.
  • Regularly clean your keyboard. Keeping your keyboard clean is an easy process that you should perform regularly. You will need compressed air, a vacuum cleaner, a lint-free cloth and mild liquid dishwashing detergent. Try starting the cleaning by tapping out the dirt, then blowing it out. Clean each surface of the keys as well. Then, use a vacuum to suck out the dirt.
  • Intensive cleaning may be needed occasionally. For really filthy keyboards you may need to take the board apart and clean under each letter and number individually. This may include removing each key and cleaning under each with a Q-Tip.

Hardware for your Business

 

Small and medium sized businesses have the challenge of finding and investing in hardware that gives them what they need to run a successful business, as well as giving them the biggest bang for their buck. This is where M&H can help. We are professionals that know the newest advances in technology both on the software and hardware end of business. Believe it or not, 78% of mid-size companies and 82% of large ones aim to purchase hardware in the next six months, just 32% of small plan to do so due to budget, time or information about the products. Call M&H to set up an appointment for us to help you choose the right hardware for your business while keeping you on budget.

 

Launching a New Business?

When starting your business here are just a few of the products that you will need to get off on the right foot.

  • Desktop Workstations – Look for hardware that will last several years and will need minimal upkeep and maintenance. In fact, you may want to work with a company that can design a custom computer system specifically for your business needs.
  • Server Solutions – You can choose from several server solutions based on the amount of storage you need, security requirements, and backup options. M&H can help you choose the one that fits your business.
  • Storage and Backup – An external hard drive can be a wise investment for startup businesses that don’t want to store information in the Cloud or on their computers’ hard drives. We can talk about what type of  storage you may want, whether it is cloud or some other source.
  • Router – Keeping your business team connected is needed by almost all companies in some form.  Using a wireless router may be a good bet so that cables are not strewn all over your office.
  • Printers – Your options for a printer range from rather slow and inexpensive (inkjet printers) to fast and more expensive (laser printers). In comparing the costs of different printers, it’s important to look beyond just the initial purchase price.
  • Mobile Devices – If employees are on-the-go in your field you will want to have mobile devices ready for use. Options out there include laptops, tablets, smartphones and the list goes on and on. Again, we can help you choose the right tech for your unique company needs.