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4 benefits of hardware-as-a-service

Hardware-as-a-service may sound a bit strange at first. What makes it a service? Isn’t that the same as renting something? Not quite.

It’s a new way of looking at hardware that is becoming not only more prevalent but also much more useful for the average business owner.

What does it mean?

Hardware-as-a-service is similar to renting or leasing in a lot of ways and therefore has some of the same benefits.

Just the same as if you were renting, you are just borrowing and using the hardware. Whether it’s short- or long-term, you return the equipment to the owner at some point. Not all agreements entail taking the hardware back to your office, as we’ll explain in a moment.

Mostly this approach is different from rental in the thought process around it: it’s a service model.

So, what you are purchasing is not the hardware itself but rather the service to support the hardware. It’s best to think of HaaS as paying for the utility rather than the hardware, and the benefits are similar.

1. Low upfront costs

This is one of the main benefits for SMBs when renting something like network hardware – you can get the latest hardware up and running faster and cheaper than if you were to specify it, buy it and set it up yourself. Typically, as their first order of business, experts from the company you’re paying for the service will come to install it for you and make sure everything is functioning properly.

Typically you’ll owe the owner a monthly or yearly fee for its use on premises. Sometimes you may see a charge on a per-use basis, but this depends on the type of hardware and how you are using it. Most HaaS operations use a flat monthly fee, making it easy to budget for.

2. You’re not responsible for maintenance

If the machine falters, you can just call the company you’re renting from and they’ll send someone out to look at it. They’ll have someone monitor it periodically and complete proactive maintenance or updates to keep things running securely and smoothly. Either way, you won’t have to pay for repairs – that’s almost always factored into whatever recurring fees you’ve agreed to. Additionally, it’s often possible to swap out the malfunctioning unit instead of having to wait for repairs. That way, you’re at little risk for extended downtime.

3. Obsolescence isn’t a problem

One major way hardware-as-a-service can differ from rental is that the owners can keep your equipment current with the latest technology. When a new version of a particular technology arrives, they’ll be in charge of updating it for you, when necessary, rather than you having to deal with it yourself. You won’t have to worry about investing in technology that might shortly become obsolete because your provider will want you to be running as quickly and efficiently as possible – they’re incentivized to make sure you’ve got the best equipment for your needs and budget.

4. Unique applications

Hardware-as-a-service includes things like cloud solutions or server storage that you rent from another company. You can pay to use their hardware rather than investing in your own infrastructure.

Even the Citi Bike system in New York City is a good example of HaaS. Citi gains and maintains a customer base by making sure you get where you need to go quickly via the hardware they’re providing. Cloud computing and server storage providers are keeping you productive by using the hardware available through them. If you’ve got a great idea but not enough processing power, HaaS companies that specialize in server farms are happy to help you without all the hassle of managing that much computing power and integration yourself.

Their expertise is a key component of the Service part of Hardware-as-a-Service.

The bottom line

Hardware-as-a-Service allows you to operate to your full potential with minimal risk and investment. Luckily for most businesses, this is quickly becoming the norm and will certainly evolve into more productive and creative practices and services as time goes on.

If this makes you curious and you’d like to find out more, don’t hesitate to contact us today and ask any questions that you might have.

5 Ways to Save Money on IT Expenses

Every company has to spend money on IT in some form or fashion. If you can save money without sacrificing productivity and security, though, you can direct some additional cash to other areas of your business.

Lower your IT expenses by following these 5 tips.

Adopt a BYOD Policy

In 2017, about 80% of employees brought their own mobile devices to work. That’s not surprising, considering 77% of Americans own smartphones.

Since most of your employees already bring mobile devices to work, you can adopt a BYOD (bring your own device) policy so you don’t have to spend money on smartphones for them. Research shows that you’ll get a boost in productivity while you save money.

Keep in mind that BYOD can make your business more susceptible to security problems. Make sure you set strict security standards to protect your organization.

Turn to the Cloud

Using the cloud for applications and data storage offers several cost-saving advantages. Some of the most important benefits include:

  • Reducing your labor costs.
  • Saving money on equipment.
  • Lowering the amount that you spend housing and powering equipment.
  • Using a pay-as-you-go model to spread costs out over time.

If you haven’t started using the cloud, then you’re almost certainly spending more money than necessary on your equipment and software.

Use More Open Source Applications

Buying enterprise software can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. You can avoid those IT expenses by switching to free, open source applications. Many of the free applications work just as well as the ones that cost a lot of money.

Some of the most popular open source applications that you can explore include:

Explore several open source applications to find options that match your business’s needs.

You can also save money by using an open source operating system. Windows 10 Enterprise costs about $84 per user per year. Depending on how many employees you have, that charge can add up to a significant amount of money. You can avoid that expense by using an OS like Ubuntu, Fedora, Solus, and other Linux-based systems. You will, however, have to spend more time training employees to use a Linux-based OS.

Important note: While the costs savings will be apparent from the get-go, keep in mind that these open source applications will be considerably harder to support. If something goes wrong, you might find yourself out of luck.

Keep that in mind when considering if they’re worth it to you.

Invest in Equipment That Will Last

Buying inexpensive equipment may seem like a good way to save on IT expenses. Unfortunately, cheap equipment won’t perform as well as equipment that costs a little more. By investing more money in your equipment today, you can avoid additional spending in the future. After all, it’s better to purchase a server that lasts 5 years instead of two that last 2 or 3 years.

Keep in mind that expensive equipment doesn’t always work better than cheaper alternatives. You should always read reviews and talk to IT professionals before you invest in any equipment.

Let Some Employees Telecommute

Telecommuting has a lot of benefits. It can increase employee productivity, reduce turnover, and improve morale. Letting employees work remotely also means that you don’t have to spend money on computers, energy, and office space.

Certain employees, of course, need to work in the office. There’s a good chance, though, that you can let some of your team members work from home. In return, you’ll spend considerably less money on IT.

Final Thoughts on IT Expenses

You’ll always have to spend money on IT expenses. If you follow these tips, though, you can shrink your IT budget. If you’re looking for a better way to cut costs, consider reaching out to a professional that can audit your technology. Working together with you, a consultant can show you exactly what you can cut from the budget (and what you shouldn’t).

5 Steps to Creating the Perfect IT Budget

Like other aspects of your business, your IT infrastructure needs a budget that describes how you will spend money to reach your goals. Ideally, you should make a new IT budget each year.

During some years, you may not make any changes to your budget. During other years, though, you may need to drastically increase or decrease the amount of money that you spend on IT.

Follow these 5 steps to create the perfect IT budget for your SMB’s short-term and long-term goals.

1. Review Last Year’s IT Budget

If you made an IT budget last year, review it to determine where you want to make changes. If you spent money on new equipment, such as desktop computers or a new server, last year, then you probably don’t need to buy those items again.

You can also use last year’s budget to find recurring expenses easily.

2. Know the Cost of Your Recurring Expenses

Certain IT costs won’t change much from year to year. Some common recurring IT expenses include:

  • Cloud storage space
  • Renewing software licenses
  • URL registration
  • Content management systems

Your recurring costs may differ from those of other companies. Take a close look at how your business spends money so you can identify recurring expenses that you haven’t included in past budgets.

3. Take Inventory of Your IT Equipment

Make a list of your IT equipment and how old the items are. Once you have a completed list, you can decide whether you need to update your equipment.

You have some discretion when it comes to how often you update your IT equipment. Most companies purchase new desktop and laptop computers every 3 to 5 years. A 5-year-old computer may seem to work well, but it probably can’t keep up with the speed of newer models. Hanging on to old equipment, therefore, could lower the productivity of your employees.

Other pieces of technology that you might need to update include:

  • Servers (about every 3 years)
  • WiFi routers (every 4 or 5 years)
  • Mobile devices (every 2 or 3 years)

If it’s time to upgrade your IT equipment, then you need to create a line for that expense. If you don’t need any upgrades, then you can reserve your money for when the time comes.

4. Talk to Your Employees and Managers

Your employees and managers may have a better idea than you do about what upgrades you need. After all, they’re the people who use your equipment and applications daily.

Take some time to talk to your managers and employees to learn more about what they would like to see in next year’s IT budget. If you hear the same requests from a lot of people, consider adding a line to your budget. Of course, you shouldn’t feel obligated to fulfill the whims of a few people. Only add the expenses if you’ll get a good return on your investment.

5. Plan for the Future

This year’s budget should include a line for research and development that will improve your companies ability to compete with other businesses in your industry. Depending on your industry, this may include things like:

  • Sending managers to IT conferences to learn about upcoming products
  • Hiring coders to update proprietary software
  • Improving your IT infrastructure security against the latest cyberthreats

Researching your future needs will make it easier for you to predict your IT expenses over the next few years.

IT Budgeting

The perfect IT budget ensures that you spend money wisely while you update your SMB’s technology. You can take a stab at making an IT budget without outside help, but you run the risk of missing an important line item.

If you haven’t made an IT budget before, then you may need to hire a consultant to help you find hidden costs and make accurate predictions. We’re more than happy to assist you with creating a solid budget that will accurately account for your expenses.