As we approach the end of 2012, it's time to give some thought as to what your IT needs may look like in 2013. If you haven't already, it's a great idea to put a budget together for new hardware (computers, servers, infrastructure upgrades such as firewalls, backups, and network devices), and any software upgrades you have been putting off for a while.
Here are a few items you may wish to think about:
- Do you still have PC's running Windows XP? Unless you have severe software requirements (even then you should reconsider your software vendor), it's time to move on. The window for mainstream support is closing soon, Microsoft will completely stop support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. At this point you are three full operating system releases behind. While Windows 8 PC's are now available, we suggest staying the course with Windows 7 PC's for business purposes. Windows 7 will be available for the foreseeable future.
- Does your server still run some flavor of Server 2003? We touched on this in an article earlier this year, but if your server is still running Windows Server 2003, your problem is two-fold. At this point your hardware is most likely out of warranty, making hardware support a real challenge. Parts can be difficult to find as a server gets older, increasing downtime and making repairs much more difficult. Similar to Windows XP, Microsoft support for the Server 2003 operating system will end on July 14, 2015. Server operating system support is important, difficult cases often times require Microsoft support engineer intervention, and by that date, they will not even touch the problem.
- Are you still running a 10/100MB Network Switch? If you've upgraded the PC's in your office and have not upgraded your network switch, you are missing out. File transfer speeds with a Gigabit network switch are up to 10x faster than 10/100 technology. Your network switch is the main distribution point of your network, 10/100 switches are pretty old at this point, and a Gigabit switch is a relatively inexpensive upgrade for any sized network.
- Have you tested your backup system lately? Testing a file restore here and there is great, but a full disaster recovery test is great. Most of our clients are on some type of image based backup, a few hours of work can determine how well the system will function in case of a real disaster. Contact us for more details!
- Cloud, Cloud, Cloud… Infostream has been busy with cloud deployment this year. Since 2011 we have migrated quite a few mailboxes up to the cloud using the Exchange Online portion of the Office 365 suite. We are your resident Office 365 experts, contact us for any questions on this exciting technology!
Infostream can help you with ALL your IT planning needs. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact us through our website or call us at 561.968.0046, as we are here for you!