The rapid evolution of technology leaves most people playing catchup. It’s costly to always have the latest and greatest gadgets, and the average business doesn’t have thousands of dollars lying around to upgrade their equipment monthly. There’s a fine line between using outdated office technology and making unnecessary purchases, so we’ve decided to provide some insight on the matter.
Why You Should Keep Office Technology Up-to-Date
The threat of cyber-attacks against small businesses is increasing, and outdated technology is what hackers prey upon. Programs that are no longer supported by their developers, such as Windows XP, are known as end-of-life software. This category of is extremely vulnerable to attacks because hackers create new malware, while the developers no longer improve security measures.
Thus, the burden is on software users to keep their operating systems current.
In addition to security concerns, outdated hardware is a nuisance, because it simply runs slower and may not be compatible with other new technologies. For example, you probably don’t have a VCR in your office because VHS is obsolete. The same should go for other technology.
Also, a PC from 2003 just doesn’t function as well as a brand new one. Slow, inefficient equipment means your employees are inherently less productive, even if they’re hard workers. That doesn’t mean you need to buy a PC every time a new model comes out, but it’s recommended that even minimal Internet users consider a replacement every five years.
Section 179 of the IRS Code allows small businesses to deduct most or all of the expenses they incur when purchasing new office technology. There are some limitations to this write-off, so be sure to inquire with your tax professional if you have questions.
What You Should Look for When Upgrading
Above, we briefly discussed the risk hackers pose to small businesses. When introducing new technology, make sure it’s capable of keeping your data safe. Cybersecurity should be your foremost concern, because most small businesses cannot survive a serious data breach.
Some devices are more efficient than others, because they’re multi-functional. Say your office needs a new fax machine and a new printer. Consider buying a printer with a built-in fax machine and scanner. This way, you’re saving space and, probably, money.
In addition to helping the environment, products that run on comparatively less energy also cut costs in the long-run. While you may pay a little bit more up front for energy-efficient products, the money and energy you save are well worth the investment. Energy Star is a government website that provides details on all sorts of equipment.
The reason you’re reading this blog is probably because you’re wondering whether or not an upgrade is necessary. You don’t want to spend a ton of time and money replacing all of the equipment in your office. But, if you buy cheap, unreliable technology, you’ll be replacing it more often that you’d like. Investing in a slightly more costly product pays off if it gives you the longevity your business needs.
Take VoIP phone systems for example. You spend money on the initial setup, but after that, you’ve got a reliable, low-maintenance communications system in place.
There’s no doubt that productivity should also be a priority as you consider upgrading your office technology. Things to think about when looking for productivity-boosting equipment include:
- Don’t opt for computers that are known to run slowly.
- Do your employees need to have several windows open at once on the computer? Consider installing ultrawide or double monitors.
- If you’re introducing new software, will your employees need to be trained on how to use it? If so, will the training boost productivity in the long-run?
The Answer to the Question
Almost all businesses can benefit from a technological renovation. If cybersecurity and productivity are declining, then it’s likely time for an upgrade.