Early in my adult life I did not see the full value in certain types of insurance and extended service plans. In 2001, I experienced an apartment fire that destroyed all of my belongings. This experience was eye-opening. Recently I purchased a new laptop; its predecessor was a 2009 model that had seen better days. Working in-house IT for so many years, I always had a laptop provided to me. This perk allowed Lebowski, as my worn out laptop was known, to exceed the life I planned for it. During the purchase of my new laptop, I included something that I never have before. It included the standard one-year warranty and technical support. I chose to extend the warranty to three years and added an accidental damage plan for three years as well. In 2009, I only had to worry about me dropping, hitting, and spilling something on my laptop; I was still willing to risk the odds and not consider any additional coverage. Flash forward to 2015, I am married and have a 19-month old daughter who loves to get involved with whatever Daddy is working on when I am “bizzy”, as she says. I could not risk my investment in a new tool to “Oops” and “Uh oh”. As an SMB owner, neither should you.
Are You Covered?
Protecting the assets and investments for small to medium businesses goes beyond adding an extra $300 accidental damage plan. Too many times, businesses leave a lot to chance by opting out of valuable service plans when procuring new hardware or not renewing software related support and maintenance agreements. Every vendor has a unique approach to adding protection such as Cisco with SmartNet, Juniper with J-Care, Microsoft with Software Assurance, just to name a few. While I do not always agree with some vendor’s “cover everything approach” to maintenance/support renewals, there are components that are necessary to protecting your business. Now I also know that not every item in your technology arsenal needs the same level of protection. For instance, something such as a wireless access point might not need the same level of coverage as your core server. The best approach you can use to rank the importance of one asset over another is by determining how your business can function without a particular item. What is the lifeline of your business and how long can you survive without it? If your business can flow easily without wireless network access for a few days while a new unit is ordered, then a warranty plan might not be necessary. But when systems fail that drive your core business, such as email, CRM, voice, and data storage, you must ask yourself how this impacts your customers, your workers, and your revenue.
Final Thought: Better NOT Left To Chance
I feel terrible for a business when I hear about the investment in X (insert IT project here) that was made two years ago and they failed to keep up with very necessary maintenance and support contracts. What usually amounts to a small fraction of the replacement cost is passed up to “keeping our fingers crossed”, “hoping for the best”, and my favorite, “we will deal with it when it happens”. Failure to be proactive in protecting your original investment will cost a business money every time.
Sidebar Technology Solutions, LLC has a client-centric focus when helping businesses understand the varying benefits of vendor support and maintenance plans. We explain how a particular plan can serve your business. Sidebar offers break/fix hourly on-site support, IT project services, as well as our proactive managed services plan. We don’t have a typical three-tier MSP approach like other providers; we craft a custom plan to fit your business needs while also being cost conscious.