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10
Jan
2023
Best Practices for Small Business Lifecycle Management

Best Practices for Small Business Lifecycle Management

The daily operations of a small business require a variety of IT hardware, including computers, point-of-sale (POS) systems, servers, and telephone systems, among others.  While it may be tempting to replace this technology only when problems arise, a proactive approach is more beneficial in the longterm, since replacing broken equipment may result in buying cheaper options that could compromise your entire technological infrastructure’s integrity¹. 

This is where server lifecycle management comes in. Lifecycle management is proactive and spreads new equipment purchases over time¹, which reduces the financial burden or stress of replacing multiple types of technology all at once. In this article, we will explore best practices for managing the lifecycle of your business’s servers and other essential hardware. 

One best practice for server lifecycle management is to replace your business’s servers or other on-premises hardware (like computers, switches, and firewalls) every five years, limiting servers' shelf life to the common length of manufacturers' warranties¹. By following this simple strategy, you can ensure that your servers are up to date and less vulnerable to harmful phishing, spyware, and ransomware attacks. 

Another best practice for effective server lifecycle management is to keep a detailed inventory of all your IT assets, including information on all hardware and software, as well as device locations². 

Still another best practice for managing the lifecycle of your business’s servers is to move your business’s most critical operations to newer equipment³. Consider Anthony Marano, a Chicago-based fruit and vegetable distributor, for example. The company’s IT team reserves the newest, “state-of-the-art servers for the company’s production systems,” or alternatively, preparing them to take over production duties from existing servers³. Additionally, Anthony Marano uses its previous-generation hardware for emergency backups and testing, while decommissioning its oldest servers³. In other words, the produce supplier’s most crucial production loads are always on the newest equipment, which in turn have a lower risk of failure than older devices³. By following this example, you can ensure that your critical business processes run on the most up-to-date servers and increase capacity to meet demand, as necessary³. 

Of course, when it comes to server lifecycle management, do not overlook the importance of contingency planning for the end of your servers’ useful lives². This includes ensuring “compliance with upgrades, adapting to your enterprise’s demands, and the planned phasing-out of insecure or unsupported technologies,” including outdated servers². If you have difficulty acquiring new hardware in a timely manner, data center maintenance companies can provide you with multi-vendor support to extend the life of your servers². 

While tracking your physical servers is important, you must also know how to manage the lifecycles of your virtual servers. If you have virtualized your company’s servers, you should regularly upgrade virtual guest servers based on the guidelines that your application vendor, such as Microsoft or Egnyte, provides⁴. Also, make sure to configure the “N+1” virtual host servers to keep your business up and running even if you have one or more servers down⁴. Make sure to stagger purchase dates for your servers, be it every three months, six months, or one year, for example⁴. You should also monitor your servers’ performance regularly and replace them when your host fails unless performance dictates otherwise⁴. Any way you slice it, effective lifecycle management helps you ensure that both physical and virtual servers are running reliably.

Navitend can help you. Call 973.448.0070 or setup an appointment today. 

Sources:  

¹Roark Tech Services. “Technology Lifecycle Management for Small Businesses.” Retrieved from https://www.roarkinc.com/post/technology-lifecycle-management-planning-for-small-businesses.  

²Park Place Technologies. “IT Infrastructure Lifecycle Management Best Practices” by Michael Jennings. Retrieved from https://www.parkplacetechnologies.com/blog/it-infrastructure-lifecycle-management-best-practices-process/.  

³BizTech Magazine. “When It Comes to Server Lifecycle Management, Start with a Good Strategy” by Alan Joch. Retrieved from https://biztechmagazine.com/article/2012/06/when-it-comes-server-lifecycle-management-start-good-strategy.  

⁴ANP. “IT Technology Lifecycle Management for Small Business” by Michael Silverman. Retrieved from https://www.anp.net/blog/bid/365226/IT-Technology-Lifecycle-Management-for-Small-Business#:~:text=Although%20every%20businesses%20situation%20is%20different%2C%20the%20following,desktops%20Upgrade%20key%20physical%20servers%20every%204%20years

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