Even SMBs with simple network infrastructure can end up having many pieces of hardware to keep the network running securely. UPS’s, firewalls, routers, switches, the list goes on regarding the hardware required to sustain a business network, and the hardware is certainly not cheap. With the maximum lifespan of these pieces being anywhere from 3 to 6 years, continuously maintaining a network can feel like a never-ending, expensive subscription service which has led many SMB owners to the same question.

Is It Really Necessary to Replace Hardware Every 3-6 Years?

As much as you might want one, there is no easy answer to this question, but there are very important pros and cons that you can weigh to make the best decision for your business. The very obvious reason as to why someone might not want to replace expired hardware is because it might be seemingly running just fine even years after expiration while getting a new one is likely to cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars, before the cost of installation and setup.

This is very common, and it may seem like the best option at the time, but it can end in a very disastrous situation where service is disrupted, data is permanently lost, or sensitive information is breached due to a cyber-attack. The worst part of this is that there’s no telling when a piece of hardware will finally give-out, which is why hardware has an expiration date in the first place. It is the manufacturer’s best estimate of how long their product will safely run, and it is also when the manufacturer stops offering warranty on the item due it being likely to fail soon after.

While the cost of replacing expensive hardware every 3-6 can seem burdensome, it’s always cheaper than suffering an unplanned service outage, which can result in damages that are far more resource-intensive than a new piece of hardware would’ve been.

KLH strongly recommends replacing all hardware after its expiration date. Our general recommendations for replacing hardware is:

  • Servers: 3 years, 4 years with a warranty extension of 1 year
  • UPS: 3 years, 6 years with a battery replacement at year 3
  • Firewalls: 4 years
  • Switches: 4 years
  • Wireless Access Points: 4 years
  • PoE Injectors: 4 years
  • Laptops: 4 years
  • Workstations: 4 years

How Do I Find Out If My Hardware is Expired?

Finding expiration dates for hardware depends on the manufacturer. Some manufacturers have online databases so you can find your model and determine when it expires, while others you may have to call and ask, some may be very hard to reach out to and a response may never come. Whatever the case is, the manufacturer will most likely need to look up your hardware by its serial number. From there, they will be able to tell you when it was purchased and how long it will last after the purchase date.

This process can be very time consuming, so the best method of keeping track of expiration dates is to find out how long the hardware will last when you purchase it, so you don’t need to hunt around for it later. It’s also a good idea to set reminders for when the expiration date comes around so you can plan well in advance for its replacement or make a claim against the warranty if it’s still active.

Renting as An Alternative

Buying and constantly replacing your network’s hardware isn’t the only option. Many businesses rent their hardware, so instead of having to buy brand new equipment every 4 years, they simply rent newer equipment when it reaches its expiration date. This is typically a good option for a quickly growing business, as you might not be able to estimate how large you will need to scale technologically, so it’s difficult to make a 4+ year investment in hardware when you might very well exceed its capacity before the expiration date.

KLH Can Help

As an MSP, KLH documents all hardware present on client sites and ensures your network is completely up to date. Keeping track of many pieces of hardware with so many different important dates can be overwhelming, so we do that for you, that’s how we make technology work for you. KLH has over a decade in experience in industries such as legal, finance and insurance, manufacturing, retail, construction, and more. Contact us at 952-258-8200 or info@klhmn.com to learn more about how we increase system efficiency and security.