It's almost like something out of an old fairy tale: When you're investing in network hardware, it's very easy to overspend, or underspend... but it's very hard to find an expenditure that's "just right."
The huge variety of options in networking equipment on the market can be overwhelming even for trained technology experts, much less a small business that's just trying to make the most of its upgrade budget.
So, until you have some experience in planning and upgrading your own IT network, we strongly recommend getting professional help with your upgrades. It's the best way to ensure that your hardware purchases aren't too cheap or too expensive, but always just right for your situation.
How Professional Networking Experts Create Best-Fit Solutions
I. Preventing Overspending
Network hardware isn't cheap, and it's easy to end up spending too much. Manufacturers want you to think you always need the best, biggest, and priciest, but that's just not always true.
A good networking expert is going to work with you in planning your future goals, and examining your projected rates of expansion. While it's smart to allow for growth in your business, a given piece of networking hardware is likely to only be in use for a few years. If you purchase something you won't fully utilize for a decade, it's probably going to be obsolete before it sees proper service.
Very often, we find that pre-owned hardware is just the thing to suit a small business on a budget. If it's been properly refurbished and certified, you can often get hardware that's perfect for your needs, at a fraction of the retail cost.
In many cases, you can even avoid a hardware purchase entirely by utilizing Cloud-based software services instead. This is often the best option for a growing business, since that eliminates their need to upgrade hardware. But, you'll still almost certainly need a it network expert to sort through all the Cloud services available.
II. Preventing Underspending
You might not think it, but underspending can often be as wasteful as overspending.
One of the most common issues we run into when helping clients is when they only look towards current needs. Those future goals and projections we mentioned above matter, when you're trying to purchase hardware that will last as long as is realistically feasible.
Buying cheaper hardware that isn't ready for your future growth might save a little money in the present, but it virtually guarantees you'll need more upgrades in a year or two.
Likewise, another area where businesses sometimes skimp is on warranties and technical support contracts.
Unlike when the "Geek Squad" is pushing an extended warranty on you at Best Buy, these sorts of support agreements are often a very good idea for smaller businesses without much on-site expertise. If your operations rely on your network -which they probably do- it truly is worth a little extra cost to ensure you've got as many protections on your investment as possible.
An experienced network vendor can help businesses avoid these sorts of "penny-wise, dollar-dumb" decisions by recommending solutions with the best projected ROI.
III. Getting It "Just Right."
A good it network vendor knows that there's rarely just one solution that can fit a business. There are usually several, depending on a wide range of factors.
So, look for networking professionals who will build multiple solutions for your business. Ideally, you should get at least three: One focused on low costs, one focused on high technology, and one with a balance of price and performance. There should also be extensive discussions of hardware vs software solutions to your various needs.
That's the most effective way of ensuring your next hardware investment fully pays off.
If you're currently looking for upgrades, please don't hesitate to contact Hummingbird Networks with any questions you might have. If it's during US business hours, we'll usually get back to you within fifteen minutes!