As more office workers unchain from their desks with laptops, tablets and mobile phones, businesses have gone from providing Wi-Fi access in certain hotspots like boardrooms to pretty much everywhere in the office. At the same time, the more organizations move IT operations to the cloud (like email, file storage, or VoIP) the more they’ve built out their network infrastructure over time to accommodate.
The result is a network that resembles a Winchester House, in which different parts of the network range in age, require different levels of maintenance, and need replacing at different intervals.
Without proper visibility into your network infrastructure, it’s easy to lose track of which devices are which, and especially which ones are end-of-support and need to be replaced. End-of-support devices are like little ticking time bombs on your network, placing organizations that still use them at a high risk of lost productivity due to longer network outages, higher replacements costs once they ‘go boom,’ and a higher risk of security breaches, too.
In a recent analysis of nearly 52,000 networking devices at more than 200 North American organizations, the Softchoice team concluded 60 percent of businesses have end-of-support devices operating in networks. The data was collected through our Cisco Contract TechCheck, an assessment service that examines the state and health of an organization’s network infrastructure. Statistically speaking, if you’re reading this at work, you’re currently connected to one of those ticking time bombs.
Tick. Tick. Tick.
Sadly, it’s too often the case that something needs to ‘go boom’ for organizations to realize there’s even a problem. But there are simple steps IT leaders can take to detect and plan for the replacement of networking devices before disaster strikes.
1. Assess your existing network infrastructure
Assessment services, like our Cisco Contract TechCheck, provide full visibility into your network infrastructure, including which devices are covered by SMARTnet, which devices are in critical need of replacement, which should be planned for future replacement, and which are still new and can meet your needs. This roadmap allows organizations to mitigate risk, maximize network uptime, and manage replacement costs. The Cisco Contract TechCheck is funded by Softchoice and is delivered by a Softchoice Cisco Sales Specialist.
2. Evaluate your disaster recovery strategy
Our TechCheck analysis found 30 percent of all devices lack SMARTnet – a standard technical support service that provides direct, anytime access to Cisco experts in case of an outage or disruption, as well as accelerated hardware replacement options. Before opting to add SMARTnet to every company networking device, first evaluate your disaster recovery strategy and determine which devices are mission critical. Ask yourself: “If a device goes down, can the business go on without it or will it impede day-to-day operations?” Determining this allows you to identify devices that need more advanced technical support, like SMARTnet.
3. Plan and budget for replacement
Our TechCheck analysis also found 95 percent of businesses have end-of-sale devices operating on their networks. When a device enters end-of-sale, it has a maximum of two-to-five years before it’s no longer supported by the manufacturer. Organizations must proactively plan and budget for replacement of those devices before they go end-of-support. End-of-support devices, if found on your network, should be replaced immediately.
Tick. Tick. Tick.
Cisco estimates the number of internet connected devices will almost triple within five years, While this could include everything from your toaster to your heart monitor, the corporate network faces an astounding increased demand, too. By regularly testing the health of your network, and identifying aging devices before they become ticking time bombs, your organization stands to benefit from increased uptime, productivity, cost savings, and ultimately happier and more loyal customers.