Maintaining your network hardware is essential to keep that hardware running and ensure your organization can continue running smoothly. However, network maintenance can also be expensive, and if you’re already working with a tight budget, it might be hard to manage.
Fortunately, there are some excellent strategies that can help you maintain your network hardware without cutting corners or jeopardizing the integrity of your systems.
Use Network Management Services
One of the best options available is to use network management services, offered by a third party. Many businesses are reluctant to work with a third party for their IT needs, perceiving this as an unnecessary additional expense. But in most cases, working with a third party can actually save you money, and in multiple different ways.
For starters, hiring a third party for network management services is usually less expensive than hiring full-time team members to work for you internally. This move also grants you access to more resources, and a full team of experienced professionals who conduct network management services for a wide array of businesses.
Additionally, because these third parties are usually motivated to perform well, their proactive management practices and strategic advice can help you save money on your equipment, maximize the lifespan of your equipment, and maximize uptime.
Be Proactive Instead of Reactive
If you decide to conduct network maintenance yourself, adopt a philosophy of proactivity rather than reactivity. In other words, you need to predict and move against potential issues before they occur, rather than only responding to them after they become impactful issues.
For example, carefully monitoring end of life (EOL) dates for your hardware can give you ample time to prepare for this eventuality. If you’re caught off guard, you may be stuck with equipment that’s no longer supported by the original manufacturer. Similarly, proactive maintenance may feel, at times, unnecessary, but it can keep your equipment up and running much longer and more consistently.
Keep a Detailed Inventory
Your IT department will be able to work much more efficiently if you keep a detailed inventory. Too often, IT managers are essentially running blind, juggling a miscellaneous assortment of issues as they try to track down an increasing number of root causes. But if you have a detailed inventory of all your IT assets, and visibility into how they are connected, it’s much easier to stay on top of maintenance and address issues when they arise.
Better network visibility and observability can also improve your network maintenance strategy. When you can, at a glance, identify how your systems are connected to each other and how they function in the context of your overall IT strategy, you can make much better maintenance and management decisions.
Employ Consistent Monitoring
Consistent monitoring is indispensable for identifying issues before they grow to be out of control. It’s even better if you set up automatic alerts to notify you whenever aberrant activity is detected. For most businesses, the best approach here is to work with an offsite network maintenance service provider who can assist you with 24/7 monitoring.
Manage Your Contracts Carefully
Keep a close eye on your contracts with vendors. You need to be mindful of when these contracts expire and attentive to the details of those contracts so you can utilize them to your advantage.
Additionally, it usually pays to seek out flexible contracts, so you have more options moving forward. Flexibility is a common core value for good reason. If you find an opportunity to save money, flexible contracts could allow you to make the move much easier.
You’ll also want to pay close attention to the warranties on your IT devices and equipment. Warranty coverage expedites issue resolution and has the potential to save you money, so it’s important to take advantage of the standing warranties you have and consider investing in extended warranties when appropriate. After warranty expiration, you’ll still be able to maintain and use your hardware, of course, but it’s going to cost you more time and money.
Reflect and Adapt
Finally, it’s important to adopt a mindset of ongoing analysis and adaptability. The network maintenance strategies you utilize initially may not be the best ones for your business when it comes to cost efficiency, and as your business grows and your technology needs change, it’s important to remain somewhat agile.
On a periodic basis, it’s a good idea to review all the network maintenance strategies and tasks you’ve employed so you can identify opportunities for improvement in the future. If you’re working with a third-party expert in the realm of network maintenance, you can ask for their insights and potentially discover even more ways that you can save money.