How to manage a hardware refresh

Matt Dunkin

Hardware refresh in a cloud first world

The opportunities to leverage the cloud have accelerated in recent years, but don’t forget the endpoints you offer to your users. What is an endpoint? An endpoint is the device which your users use to access the cloud. This could be a laptop, a desktop PC, a tablet or even a mobile phone. In this article, we’ll focus on Windows laptops – but a similar approach applies to all other devices.

A poor endpoint will limit the benefits of the cloud and frustrate the end user. Ensuring that your user devices are up to date and well managed will ensure that the overall performance is only restricted by the performance of the local internet connection.

Effortless IT

AspiraCloud believe in effortless IT. Sending a laptop direct to the end-user with zero IT interaction (after ordering) is a reality which many of our customers enjoy, regardless of whether there is an IT function on site or not. However, spending time unboxing devices, installing applications, and connecting to data is not valuable time spent for anyone responsible for IT. With a remote cloud service, ownership of devices can be massively reduced, including a rapid replacement in the event of a laptop failing. We simply ship out a replacement, the user signs in and continues working.

By applying this same automation, we can ensure devices only have approved applications installed and do not slow down over time, due to users installing their own applications, often running in the background. The ability to perform a remote reset also allows a device to be reformatted and returned to original settings as part of a troubleshooting step. This good management may even extend the lifetime of the device.

Using the cloud and device management in this way can also ensure compliance by raising the security profile with continuous auditing of the device, but that is for another blog article at a later date.

Review your hardware refresh policy

Ultimately though, a device will become end of life and need to be replaced. This is typically within 3 to 5 years of usage, although it depends on your organisation’s appetite for risk of device failure, which can be mitigated by holding spares, ready for immediate replacement.

In an ideal word, we would suggest a 3-year refresh policy for your devices to remain current and up to date. However, not everyone can afford to dispose of an old device just because it is 3 years old. These devices have very little financial value in terms of resale, but they could delay a purchase, which will over time save money. This is because with an older device, the risk of failure is increased, where manufacturers no longer offer warranty. But that doesn’t mean you can’t manage this yourself using hot spares and a device management strategy.

So, does this mean you can wait 5 years until you refresh your hardware? Maybe even longer? Possibly. Simply replacing a device just because of the calendar date might not work for you. Here at AspiraCloud, we suggest replacing on demand, device by device. When a device slows down or fails, we can simply send out a spare and order a new laptop to replace the spare. We do it this way because it keeps the spare pool fresh and saves the end-user making two changeovers.

Sometimes, you don’t have a choice. For example, Windows may be developed to take advantage of new hardware that simply isn’t available on your current device. The recent Windows 10 to Windows 11 upgrade puts many devices out of reach for upgrade, but you have up until 2025 to upgrade. Right now, that’s another 3 years away, which is good news, unless you need to upgrade to Windows 11 for a security feature or application vendor who has stopped supporting Windows 10. It is unlikely however, to be a deciding factor.

It’s true that you won’t get as bigger a discount on devices if you only buy one or a few at a time. We recommend having a conversation with us, or your vendor, regarding your annual device spend, as there might be an opportunity to make some cost savings. The counter-argument is the money saved by delaying a purchase might offer the discount anyway. Does it matter if everyone has a different model? Not really, as you aren’t carrying spare parts and all the power is in the cloud. However, having a single vendor for warranty and extended warranty might be easier to manage but having two different numbers to call isn’t a huge challenge.

How to effectively manage your hardware refresh

  • Everyone is different
  • Do what works for you
  • You don’t have to use a calendar
  • Invest in device management (with an experienced Microsoft partner!)
  • Buy 3-year extended warranty, for peace of mind
  • Shop around when buying devices.

Invest in the cloud and the devices will follow. If you are looking to improve your endpoint management and hardware refresh policy, talk to us today.