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Maximizing ROI on network equipment

NetworkTigers discusses maximizing ROI on Network Equipment by choosing the right solutions for your business.

IT administrators must closely monitor their organizations’ network traffic, cybersecurity protocols, and overall business activity. Another critical point of concern that is not always apparent is ensuring that the system being built and maintained can function reliably while remaining within budgetary constraints. Making ROI a critical factor in your workflow and decision-making is imperative.

Knowledge is power. Suppose you’re already an adept and competent administrator with deep and meaningful insight into your system. In that case, you already have the majority of the information needed to make sound financial decisions at your disposal.

However, the importance of stretching a dollar cannot be overstated, and the ability to make efficient decisions that pay dividends is a skill that will keep your company humming along and improve its bottom line. To maximize efficiency and minimize costs, keep the following ROI considerations in mind while formulating a strategy for building, growing, or updating your network.

Have a complete understanding of your business’s network needs

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to network hardware. To ensure that the components you purchase will accommodate your business’s needs, you must consider what may be required to run effectively today and how you can accommodate scaling in the future. 

Conduct assessments of your network to see where any bottlenecks or trouble areas appear. Study your network’s behavior and how the people and devices connected to it perform under various circumstances to gain a holistic view of your operations. The more familiar you are with your needs, and your company’s trajectory, the easier and less expensive it will be to address pain points before they become larger, more costly obstacles. 

Keep network growth front of mind

Every business looks to expand, and every business’s network has to grow with it. Don’t paint yourself into a corner by purchasing gear that lacks the flexibility to provide service through multiple years of network modifications.

Planning for growth in every decision you make is essential for maintaining your ROI. Building a network foundation that prioritizes flexibility will save you money in the long term. It also sets you up for efficient scaling. The more malleability you build in, the fewer headaches you’ll encounter as you try to push your network’s infrastructure beyond its means or swap out components that are no longer suitable.

Modular network components that allow you to modify them over time as needed can prevent you from investing time and funds in setting up architecture that will only need to be replaced in full down the road. 

Forecast your total cost of ownership

Total cost of ownership (TCO), meaning your maintenance costs, equipment power consumption, software license fees, staffing requirements, etc., can significantly impact your network’s expenses over time. Hardware with a low upfront cost may become more expensive than you originally planned for if it drains more power than a slightly more expensive alternative or has a reputation for being unreliable.

Practice due diligence and look beyond the price tag to ensure your purchases don’t cost you more than you’ve planned for in operational overhead or maintenance.

Good security is good ROI

A cyberattack or data breach can result in a tremendous blow to your company’s business operations, its reputation, and your budget. Most small businesses that find themselves targeted by criminals end up simply closing shop, unable to recover.

Ensure that your network architecture is protected by firewalls capable of filtering your expected traffic. Seek out equipment with features that flag suspicious activity from companies that regularly update their products’ firmware and software.

To prevent the economic bombshell of a hack, invest in equipment that still receives support and updates from the manufacturer. Research your options and avoid gear from makers with a reputation for security lapses or not responding adequately and quickly to bugs and vulnerabilities in their products. Set up automatic updates.

Any savings you may gain by cutting security corners will be evaporated if the network you build has a weakness exploited by opportunistic cybercriminals probing for entry points.

Increase your ROI with refurbished network equipment

Operating with old gear not only diminishes the efficiency and scalability of your system but also creates a security lapse. Do not allow unsupported hardware or software to hang around in your network. Any components that are about to lose manufacturer support should be replaced immediately. 

While doing so may seem daunting, you can save significant money by purchasing refurbished equipment from a reputable dealer. Large enterprise companies that undergo a network refresh often provide said dealers with current gear in excellent condition. Depending on age, some of this equipment will still carry a manufacturer’s warranty. However, trustworthy retailers will provide guarantees on the equipment that they sell.

Stay in the know

Ensure you keep your eye on the ball regarding changes in network gear or best practices. Planning around upcoming trends or advances in equipment reliably allows you to stay agile and keep up with industry standards.

Bookmark reputable news sites, attend conferences, converse with peers in the industry, and engage with forums and social media accounts online. The more connected you are to the industry, the more you will learn and the more resources you have to tap into for consultation when needed.

Lagging behind and then scrambling as you perform last-minute research on how to replace a part of your network will cost you time and, if you make an uninformed decision, more money. 

Maintaining a working knowledge of networking news will keep you sharp and prevent you from having to pick up your slack. A well-informed position lets you go with the flow when planning network modifications. This ensures that you can keep your system current and future-proof with as little overhead as possible, thus maximizing your ROI.

Derek Walborn
Derek Walborn
Derek Walborn is a freelance research-based technical writer. He has worked as a content QA analyst for AT&T and Pernod Ricard.

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Maximizing ROI on network equipment