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Top Small Business Hardware For 2020

Keeping information technology up to date can be costly, but it’s essential for maintaining a business that operates smoothly and securely. According to The 2020 State of IT survey by Spiceworks, 88% of global businesses of all sizes expect their IT budgets to remain steady or increase this year.

64% of these survey respondents cited that the primary factor fueling the increase in IT expenditures is the need to upgrade outdated infrastructure. This concern is more prominent amongst small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with fewer than 1,000 employees. While companies with over 5,000 employees expect only 29% of their IT budget to be spent on hardware, those with fewer than 100 employees anticipate 35%.

A staggering $4 trillion is projected to be spent on IT this year across the globe and about half of that can be attributed to the six largest spending categories: End User Hardware (22%), Storage and Backup (10%), Server Technology (9%), Security (7%), Collaboration and Communication (6%), and Networking (4%).

Considering how important hardware updates will be for small businesses this year, here are some of the top pieces of business hardware for 2020.

IoT Desktop Computers

Personal computers are the primary tool professionals use to get their jobs done. According to the Spiceworks survey, investment in laptops will effectively be the same as desktops. Investments in these devices are expected to account for 34% of IT hardware budgets. One of the most fundamental decisions a company must make is whether to provide employees the mobility of a laptop or ground them to the office with a desktop. IoT desktop computers provide a great solution that combines the portability of a laptop but the function and power of a desktop.

IoT desktop computers will be one of 2020's top hardware additions due to their small form factor, ease of portability, and advanced collaboration features. These systems can be used as a stand-alone desktop computer when plugged into a monitor or solely as a meeting room technology catalyst for collaboration activities such as video conferencing.

Smaller than your standard dinner plate, one of the most popular IoT desktop computer models is the HP Elite Slice with Windows 10. It packs the power of a professional desktop within a small form factor that’s easily transportable if needed. It also can be upgraded effortlessly by attaching expansion modules, so it’s by no means a one size fits all solution. Some of these add-ons include a touch screen collaboration device with special controls for Skype calls, an audio element with high quality microphones, and an optical disk drive component. The base model is cost effective and can be easily upgraded as needed by simply snapping on the additional module units that increase the capability of the machine.

Budget-Friendly Reconditioned Systems

According to the survey, small and medium sized businesses are more concerned with keeping hardware up to date than large enterprises are. When budgets are limited, as they often are with small businesses, it’s still possible to procure robust systems without breaking the bank. A strategic method for accomplishing this feat is by opting for reconditioned systems.

When refurbished by experts, the likelihood of receiving faulty equipment is actually lower, since they tend to be tested more rigorously than new models. Unlike used equipment, if reconditioned systems have any faulty or underperforming components, those components are repaired or replaced. The systems are then comprehensively cleaned and sent for testing.

If a small business is in the market for reconditioned laptops, they should consider the Dell Latitude 3470 as an option. It’s a great professional laptop that boasts a 10-hour battery life to accommodate a long day in or out of the office. Although it is an older model, a reconditioned version outfitted with an Intel i7 processor for superior performance, provides small businesses the strength and reliability on par with the latest models.

Plug and Play for Backup

According to Gartner, IT downtime can cost businesses up to $300,000 per hour. Sadly, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports that as much as 60% of all data backups are incomplete and 68% of businesses don’t even have a backup plan. Thankfully, companies of all sizes are mobilizing to improve their disaster recovery regiment. The Spiceworks survey shows that 10% of IT budgets will be devoted to storage and back up this year, which includes server backups, endpoint storage, and data warehousing solutions.

The survey also revealed that small businesses expressed they needed more guidance on how to set up disaster recovery strategies. Small businesses that are looking for an automatic backup solution should adopt Veeam software. It can be deployed on storage devices to facilitate virtualized backup and replication, so they don’t have to worry about data loss. An excellent backup device to pair with Veeam is the Dell PowerEdge R510, a server specifically designed for companies requiring robust internal storage capacity at a fair price.

Synology for Data Storage and Backup

Businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees will spend approximately 30% of their IT budgets on hosted/cloud services according to the Spiceworks survey. Much of that spend will be devoted to productivity solutions but also back up and recovery. Small businesses often have trouble identifying the right cloud-based backup solutions, much like they do for traditional backup systems as mentioned above.

Companies assessing cloud-enabled backup solutions should consider Synology NAS. These systems help small businesses utilize the power of the hybrid cloud which combines the advantages of the public and private cloud. Synology enables users to effortlessly connect their NAS, which serves the private cloud function, to their storage in the public cloud with environments such as Amazon S3 API, OpenStack Swift, or WebDAV with its Cloud Sync feature. Synology has many great offerings on the market, but small businesses should first look at Synology’s Plus series and XS series for expandable systems designed specifically for small business needs.

Software to Complete your Hardware

Hardware is best utilized if it’s complemented with compatible, powerful and secure software. Based on the survey results, 30%-31% of small businesses’ IT budgets will be allocated for software. When comparing the data by company size, the smallest businesses will allocate significantly more of their software budgets toward operating systems, while mid-size companies will spend a bigger portion on productivity software and business support apps.

With Windows 7 having reached its end of life, small businesses should upgrade their desktops and laptops to Windows 10. For those investing in productivity tools, Microsoft Office 365 is the ideal solution. Moving company data to a cloud-based productivity suite may be outside the abilities of many small businesses. When that’s the case, they ought to opt for a managed Office 365 migration solution to ensure their migration and usage is secure and optimized to their specific needs.

Spending for safety and success

Keeping their IT environments updated and backed up should be a small business’ top priority for 2020. By making shrewd purchasing decisions on hardware, companies with limited budgets should subsequently have enough funds to invest in the latest software to receive ongoing support and updates.

Fortunately, there are new and refurbished end user devices on the market as well as traditional and cloud-based backup solutions that are both affordable and exceed at getting the job done.

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