You Better Not Upgrade Your SMB Devices Without Knowing These 6 Things

on August 24, 2017

The right device can have a major impact on your bottom line as an entrepreneur or SMB owner. Yet with so many devices and productivity-boosting features to choose from, it can be hard to decide on which one to buy.

To help, we’ve put together some key considerations to keep in mind when looking for the right device fit for your business.

1. How secure is it?

The numbers are sobering. According to Small Business Trends, 43% of cyber-attacks target small business. And of those attacked, 60 percent go under within 6 months.

Of course, security issues are not always due to targeted cyber-attacks. Malware, viruses, system errors, and lost or stolen devices can also cost your business bigtime, which means you need to make security your top priority.

  • Does the device offer secure sign-in? For the best protection, think beyond the password. These days, many devices offer fingerprint or facial recognition. For example, many Windows 10 Pro devices come equipped with biometric hardware and Windows Hello, a feature that helps ensure no one but you can access what’s on your device.
  • What kind of encryption does the device offer? Encryption technology can help protect your hard drive from offline attack, should your machine get stolen. Make sure you have the flexibility to enable and disable it with a password.
  • How does it protect business data? Find out how the device secures data on your local and removable drives, prevents unauthorized apps from accessing your data, and prevents users from leaking data accidentally through copy/paste functionality.
  • What kind of protection from malware and spyware does it provide? This category goes beyond the typical anti-virus software into the realm of configurable group policies that can help you stay ahead of would-be attackers.

Learn More: Top 10 data security tips for small business

2. How mobile is it?

The ability to work from almost anywhere is a non-negotiable. When considering mobility, think about the tasks you and your team typically perform away from the workplace.

  • What kind of portability is required? Consider not only size and weight but battery life as well. For frequent travelers, a lightweight laptop with long battery life can make being on the go easier. For those running lightweight applications and doing most of their work online, maybe a tablet would be best.
  • How rugged should it be? Think about where the device will be used. If it will be used outdoors, make sure the device is durable enough to handle dust and water or potentially extreme temperatures. Will it be used in a warehouse? Make sure it’s designed to withstand impact.
  • Do you need anytime access to company files, such as sales presentations or product demos? Make sure you can collaborate and get secure, online or offline access – no matter what device you’re using – through cloud storage services like OneDrive for Business.

3. Will it boost productivity?

With the right device, you can get more done in less time. When thinking about your next device, keep the following considerations in mind.

  • What applications do you run? Ensure that it can handle the applications you and your employees use every day and seamlessly integrate with your other devices – and that you can access those applications regardless of internet connectivity.
  • Is it easy to use? Choose a device with an intuitive, easy-to-navigate interface that can be customized to suit your specific needs. Clicking through multiple screens and icons to access what you need regularly can be a major time suck.
  • What kinds of time-saving features does it offer? Consider features such as boot time, charge time, and battery life.
  • Does it accommodate your workstyle? Look at options that help you interact with the device in a natural way, such as touchscreens or inking functionality like Windows Ink that enable you to spontaneously jot notes or draw on the screen.

Learn More: 10 great Microsoft products for small businesses to explore for productivity

4. What kind of device do you need?

You’d never use a spoon when you need a knife, right? The same applies to devices: the type of device you need depends upon how it will be used.

  • Will you be running power-hungry applications? Consider a robust laptop or even an all-in-one desktop with plenty of RAM and a fast CPU.
  • Need something ultra-portable? You’ll want a sleek design with a long battery life that you can take anywhere. You may find that a two-in-one provides the power you need and the flexibility to accommodate multiple tasks and workstyles.
  • Do you have a lot of peripheral devices? Make sure the device has plenty of USB ports and that it’s compatible with your other hardware investments.

Learn More: Windows SMB Device Finder

5. What are the maintenance requirements?

Rolling out updates and new capabilities across your business is a key consideration. You’ll want to understand the time required by your staff to keep devices secure and up-to-date and maximize lifespan.

  • How often are security updates and new features rolled out? Understanding the frequency and time involved will help you ensure you don’t overburden staff (or fall behind on vital updates).
  • How hard is it to deploy hardware upgrades? You’ll want a device that can be upgraded easily and can grow with your business and not become obsolete in two years.
  • What is the device’s track record? Do your research to surface any common issues and complaints (and avoid getting stuck with a lemon).
  • What kind of warranty or support does the manufacturer provide? Make sure that you understand the support process and service level agreement. If you need next-business-day-service, be sure they can provide it.

6. What is your budget?

Once you determine exactly what you need, do your research to build a realistic budget that maximizes your ROI. You’ll want to look beyond the purchase price and consider the total lifetime costs as well as savings.

  • What are the implementation costs? Consider the time it will take to set up the device and any staff training that may be required.
  • What are the support costs? Understanding the amount of time and money your business will spend supporting the device should be factored in to the equation, as well as the cost of any manufacturer support costs.
  • What are the long-term cost savings? On the flip side, you’ll want to estimate the money you’ll save through increased staff productivity, improved security, and mobility.
  • What is the average lifespan? Think about not only the hardware integrity and durability but overall relevance, including the ability to upgrade hardware and the promise of new, time-saving features on the horizon.

Use this list to help you find a device that meets the unique requirements of your business. If you’re passionate about how technology can help you achieve your goals, keep an eye our Accelerate Your Business site for more tips and great offers on new technology.