This article is posted with permission from Sophicity’s CitySmart blog and shares non-technical, municipal-relevant insights about critical technology issues, focusing on how technology reduces costs, helps better serve citizens, and lessens cybersecurity risks. Sophicity is solely responsible for the article’s content.
When we begin working with many of our city customers, we often see the need to modernize dated hardware, software, and systems. We know this is sometimes a scary prospect.
First, old habits die hard. City staff get used to familiar servers, computers, or the way their network operates. Second, the budget for new equipment often seems too expensive. As a result, it becomes tempting to stick with old equipment until it dies to “maximize the investment.”
However, there are five major reasons why modernizing your hardware is important and should take place on a regular replacement cycle (or better yet, why you should move to a cloud platform that eliminates the need for some hardware).
1. Old hardware is more likely to break down.
Treating hardware like a junker car is not wise. When you use hardware until it breaks down, you don’t know when it will break down, what it will impact, and how you will stay operational. What if your hardware breaks down during a busy time of year? What if your dead server impacts payroll for weeks? How long will it take you to order new hardware, transfer all the data (if you backed it up), and get a new server up and running? Waiting for hardware to break down begs for unnecessary disruption.
2. Old hardware freezes up and slows down more often.
As hardware ages, it impacts your city’s operations more and more. Signs of disruption include:
- Servers and computers crashing.
- Servers constantly needing rebooting or restarting.
- Computers and software applications slowing down to a crawl.
Like an old car that constantly breaks down, these problems can become expensive—so expensive that simply buying modern hardware will save you money in many cases. Just add up the costs of wasted employee time and billable hours for IT vendors. After a certain point, your older hardware is just bleeding money.
3. New software and applications often don’t work on old hardware.
Technology evolves quickly—so quickly that older hardware has trouble running newer software and applications. This problem only increases with time. Just think about your smartphone. Why do you think so many people upgrade every two years? The more sophisticated mobile apps become, the more they need the latest hardware to run properly and efficiently.
At your city, you need the ability to run important software for activities such as accounting, records management, or utility billing. Even basics like web browsing, email, and productivity software require modern hardware. When you modernize your hardware and move some applications into the cloud, you are able to use modern software and applications—which increases your capabilities and productivity as a city.
4. Older hardware becomes harder to support.
Your city staff or trusted IT vendor might be able to put out your hardware fires to get you by for a few more days or weeks, but that’s often a temporary solution. As hardware gets older, it’s less likely that the vendor will continue to support it. That support includes patches for security vulnerabilities and updates that fix bugs.
With cybersecurity so important today and cities constantly targeted with ransomware, viruses, and phishing attacks, it’s a major liability to use old, unsupported hardware. Keeping it around increases your risk of a data breach. Modernizing your hardware makes your information more secure.
5. Older hardware hits annoying storage and memory limits.
To function as a city, you require appropriate information storage. Yet, many cities find themselves in awkward storage “battles” with their servers and computers. Offloading information to external hard drives, deleting emails, or erasing older information before you want it deleted are all signs that your hardware cannot handle your demands.
Especially think about your records retention, body camera video, or email needs. Do you really want old, aging hardware dictating what you must keep or delete? Modern hardware also contains plenty of storage for affordable prices. By modernizing your hardware, you will likely have plenty of affordable storage for your needs as well as retention compliance.
We’ve worked with many cities where upgrading from aging hardware to modernized hardware made a night and day difference to operations. Benefits included:
- Cloud applications that are automatically updated, supported, and accessible anywhere/anytime over the internet.
- Servers with increased, affordable storage that accommodated modern software application performance and storage requirements.
- The ability to use software and applications that enhanced city operations and productivity.
- Higher security that reduced the risks of data breaches.