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Every business needs to update its hardware from time to time to stay current and competitive on the technological front. The problem for many businesses, though, is that hardware updates can be disruptive and difficult to manage without negatively affecting day-to-day operations.

Luckily, if approached correctly, hardware upgrades don’t have to be a hassle.

Here are four tips your business can use to ensure that its next round of hardware updates goes smoothly and results in as little downtime as possible.

Go through a comprehensive planning process

Before executing major hardware updates, it’s critical for your business and the managed IT service provider you’re using to plan the process out thoroughly. You need to know exactly what hardware needs to be replaced or upgraded, then develop a plan to handle the updates with as little disruption to your everyday business operations as possible.

Staging and testing new equipment before bringing it into use can be a good idea, as it will help to eliminate downtime during the upgrade. Your plan should also cover the disposal of your old hardware since you won’t want it taking up space around the office.

Make sure your team is in the loop

Even the best hardware updates and upgrades will cause some disruption in your office. For this reason, making them go smoothly requires that you communicate with your employees about what will be done and when.

This communication stage also gives you an opportunity to ask employees what they would like to see when you buy or lease new hardware for them to use.

Let new technologies make the process easier

One of the beauties of upgrading your hardware is that it presents an opportunity for you to take advantage of new technologies.

Trading in your own servers for cloud-based solutions, for example, is an excellent way to make hardware updates easier, since it involves fewer infrastructure changes on your end. Cloud solutions are also extremely efficient, with Microsoft estimating that they can decrease the workload of small businesses by an average of 42 percent.

To make this change possible, you’ll need to partner with a cloud services provider that can assist you in migrating your existing data into a cloud computing environment.

Be proactive to limit downtime and keep things running smoothly

Many businesses make the mistake of trying to keep using their old hardware long after it has become outdated. Though this approach may seem to save money in the short term, it is a deeply flawed way of looking at necessary hardware updates.

Not only does postponing updates make it more likely that you’ll need to pursue a company-wide update program, but it also incurs more downtime and additional costs.

A Techaisle whitepaper prepared in 2018 found that PCs that were four years old or older cost 1.3 times as much money to repair as newer units and were responsible for 2.1 times as many hours of downtime. The same survey found that 36 percent of small businesses are using such outdated PCs.

This isn’t to say, of course, that hardware repair and maintenance aren’t essential components of a good IT strategy. However, proactively replacing hardware when it has become outdated can help to keep your business up to date and prevent the disruption that will occur if you have to perform all of your hardware updates simultaneously.

Final thoughts on hardware updates

If you use these tips and work closely with a good IT partner, your next set of hardware updates and upgrades should go quite smoothly.

The more preparation, planning and consideration you put into these upgrades, the easier it will be to pull them off without disrupting any of your core business tasks.