Anniversary Date: You Should Replace Your Hardware Devices on a Schedule

Law firms tend to let their hardware run . . . and run . . . and run – until it can’t run no more.  Most often law firm hardware breaks down, wheezing.  Now I don’t want to say that attorneys are cheap, so let’s call them “thrifty” instead.  The fact of the matter is that, the longer you run old hardware, the more susceptible you are to data security issues, spiraling repair costs and efficiency downgrades.  It actually makes more sense (and, it’s cheaper for a whole host of reasons) to replace your hardware more often and on a regular schedule – and, this is a lot easier (and less expensive) to do in an environment where law firms are using less and less hardware, given the adoption of cloud software.

Take the example of an old laptop (and I’ve seen law firms running computers that are over a decade old).  One of the problems with that strategy, which is ostensibly cost-saving, is that the computer is slower than a newer device with updated technology would be.  If you’re running an old laptop, it likely doesn’t have a solid state harddrive, which improves performance and lasts longer than a traditional harddrive.  That and other upgrades mean that any new laptop you buy to replace your ancient device is going to improve your speed and performance, which will make you more efficient.  Also, law firms that use creaky laptops may not upgrade their operating systems, and if support for those systems is sunset, that becomes a massive security loophole.  Just FYI – if you’re still on Windows 7, support for that product ended over two years ago.  You can still upgrade to a new operating system on your existing device, but your old laptop may not run that program at peak performance.  Plus, you can only apply duct tape to those old laptops for so long before you’ll get sick of paying for short-term repairs on a recurring basis.

The fact of the matter is that technology hardware, like computers, are designed to become useless; it’s called planned obsolescence – and so, that means that your laptops, for example, are only meant to last 3-5 years, at most.  Accordingly, your laptops and other hardware should be replaced on a similar schedule.  Ideally, you make this part of your policies & procedures, as well, in order to codify the strategy.

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If your old hardware is slowing you down, we can help.

The Wyoming State Bar offers free law practice management consulting services through Red Cave Law Firm Consulting.

To request a consult, visit the Wyoming State Bar’s law practice management page, and start running your law firm like a business.

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