It’s that time of year again: temperatures are dropping, Q4 is ending, the holidays are approaching and technology needs upgrading. It’s also the time of year to start planning for or investing in next year’s information technology upgrades.
Whether it’s moving to the cloud, getting ahead of the curve on replacing your Microsoft products that are close to end-of-life, upgrading workstations or otherwise investing in your business’ IT, there are a number of reasons you should start getting ready for 2019 right now.
The end of the year is a wonderful time to upgrade your technology solutions. Why?
- Tax benefits. In 2018, you can write off up to $1 million in technology hardware and software purchases on your taxes rather than waiting for it to depreciate over the years. The benefit lasts until 2023. Given that the average life of a laptop is five years, buying this year means you can take advantage of the benefit again when you need to upgrade in 2023.
- Employees are out of the office. Updating mission-critical software and hardware, especially in departments like accounting, or when migrating email systems, is much easier to complete and doesn’t cause employee downtime when done over the holidays when many employees are off work.
- Eliminate surprises in 2019. Upgrade or add to your ability to be proactive in 2019 rather than making costly reactive changes you could have made this year.
So, grab a pen and paper (or your stylus and tablet) and start reviewing your IT infrastructure. If you need help, bring in your managed service provider (MSP) to help identify areas where your business could improve its technological best practices and implement newer, safer and more efficient hardware and software solutions.
Even if you don’t make purchases right now, you should review your current IT infrastructure and begin planning and budgeting for future needs.
If you don’t want to be caught off-guard next year, consider a few areas to invest in:
- Cybersecurity. Ransomware and other attacks continue to plague all industries. No business is too small or seemingly irrelevant to escape hackers’ attention. Ensure your business is ready to take on the new world of cyberattacks. Hint: Anti-virus isn’t enough. Microsoft fends off 7 trillion cyberthreats per day and allocates over $1 billion each year to cybersecurity.
- Cloud Services. If you haven’t already moved to the cloud, you should begin giving it significant thought. The large cloud service providers have the infrastructure and cybersecurity to keep your data as secure or more as any kept in your office’s server room. Moreover, cloud services reduce your electricity and other costs.
- Replacing old and outdated hardware. One of the biggest causes of IT surprises is machine failure. Replacing your aging systems with new ones can prevent serious downtime from occurring during your busy season.
- End-of-life for Microsoft products. We are rapidly approaching the end-of-life for a number of Microsoft products your business relies on, including:
- In January of 2020:
- Exchange Server 2010 Enterprise
- Windows 7
- Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1
- Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2
- Windows Server Update Services 3.0 Service Pack 2
- In October of 2020:
- Outlook 2010
- Word 2010
- Access 2010
- Excel 2010
- Office 2010 Service Pack 2
- Office Home and Business 2010
- Office Professional 2010 (and Professional Plus)
- Access Services in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010
- Excel Services in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010
- In January of 2020:
These are only a few of the solutions you should review to ensure you won’t be caught by surprise by their loss of Microsoft support and try to migrate all the above solutions at once at the end of 2019. Such migrations need to be well-planned, methodically executed and given enough lead time to ensure your data has been fully transferred and everything works correctly before your employees return from the holidays. That simply won’t happen if you wait until the end of 2019.
Is the end of the year too busy for you and your IT staff to review your systems and prepare for upgrades?
Stratus IT offers both a managed IT services program and project-based services. We’d be happy to take the load off your shoulders by evaluating your current systems and recommending improvements based on your budget and business goals. We’re prepared to complement your staff with our technical experts to help you eliminate as many negative IT surprises as possible in 2019.
Is your IT department overburdened? Let Stratus IT pick up some of the slack – and protect you from unpleasant IT surprises in 2019. Contact us today.