Softchoice has released findings based on an analysis of nearly 52,000 networking devices at more than 200 organizations. Softchoice found that 60 percent of businesses have end-of-support devices operating in networks , which places those organizations at a higher risk of security breaches, lost productivity due to longer network outages, and higher replacement costs down the road. The data was collected through Softchoice's Cisco Contract TechCheck, an assessment service that examines the state and health of an organization's network infrastructure.
"Most organizations struggle to get a basic understanding of the state of their network because few regularly check up on the different devices they have in play," said David Brisbois, senior manager of Assessment and Technology Deployment Services Consulting at Softchoice. "It isn't until a breach occurs or their network crashes that most organizations react and realize their network is past its 'best before' date."
Softchoice's TechCheck analysis found that 95 percent of businesses also have end-of-sale devices operating on their networks. End-of-sale devices are products that are no longer available on the market, but are still supported (for now) by the manufacturer. Softchoice discovered that 51 percent of all devices they assessed are end-of-sale, 4 percent are end-of-support, and 30 percent lack SMARTnet: a standard technical support service that provides direct, anytime access to Cisco experts in case of an outage or disruption, as well as accelerated hardware replacement options.
For any organization struggling to gauge the health of their network, Brisbois suggested a three-step strategy to proactively analyze and modernize their network infrastructure:
- Assess your existing infrastructure
Assessment services provide full visibility into an organization's network infrastructure, including which devices are covered by SMARTnet, which devices are in critical need of replacement, which should be planned for future replacement, and which are still new and can meet their needs. This roadmap allows organizations to mitigate risk, maximize network uptime, and manage replacement costs.
- Evaluate your disaster recovery strategy
Before opting to add SMARTnet to every company device, organizations need to evaluate their disaster recovery strategy and determine what devices are mission critical. Ask yourself: "If a device goes down, can the business go on without it or will it impede day-to-day operations?" Determining this allows organizations to identify devices that need more advanced technical support, like SMARTnet.
- Plan and budget for replacement
When a device enters end-of-sale, it has a maximum of two-to-five years before it's no longer supported by the manufacturer. Organizations must proactively plan and budget for replacement of those devices before they go end-of-support. End-of-support devices on a network increase the risk of lost productivity due to longer downtime, potential security breaches, and ultimately higher replacement costs – and should be replaced immediately.