What is Hardware as a Service (HaaS)?
Hardware as a Service (HaaS) is a new and rapidly growing managed service, but the concept has been around for years.
One of the biggest costs for small businesses is the cost of IT equipment. Essential equipment often requires a large upfront capital investment plus of course the continued expense of ongoing maintenance and replacement.
This is why the HaaS model has become so popular. Rather than purchasing hardware outright, or leasing it from a provider, essential technologies are provided by an managed services provider (MSP) for a monthly fee. Small businesses can get all the functionality they need, but at a more manageable and predictable cost.
The HaaS model has shown itself to be an ideal IT strategy for small businesses that need to carefully manage their resources.
When your telecom provider installs a new router to replace an outdated one, or your wireless carrier sends you the latest cell phone included in your monthly plan, they are essentially providing hardware along with the service.
Even your office water cooler is a piece of hardware that is often included as part of your bottled water system subscription. Purchasing these items outright may not be practical — who wants to be stuck with obsolete and unusable equipment?
Outdated IT equipment can be even more expensive, especially to a small or midsized business. It can lead to poor productivity, lower revenue and lost data.
HaaS is essentially like leasing the network equipment, such as servers, which your business would otherwise likely have to purchase, and it almost always involves a managed services agreement.
Combining Haas with a managed service agreement from a MSP, that covers all aspects of your technology needs, can alleviate a lot of hardware headaches and provide some big benefits.
Reduced Capital Expenditure
Through not spending money upfront for your next major computer systems upgrade, HaaS has the financial benefit of converting a large capital expense into a more manageable operating expense. This can free up your cash flow and provide more working capital, which is critical to many organisations.
A fixed monthly cost also makes technology expenses budget able. HaaS removes the unpredictability factor involved with maintenance and upkeep.
A HaaS solutions may include not only repair or replacement of broken hardware, but also timely upgrades to state-of-the-art technology. This eliminates a great deal of the buyer angst which so often accompanies IT purchases.
Remember Moore’s Law? This is a concept named after Intel co-founder Gordon Moore that states that computer chip processing power doubles every two years. Today, about 50 years since the creation of Moore’s Law, that time frame is usually quoted as only 18 months, and sometimes even less.
This means every 18 months your staff could be improving their performance because their computers are running much faster and hence they are spending less time waiting for the “slow computer” to catch up.
HaaS is also great way to stay current with state-of-the-art technology specific to your industry and business goals and needs. From multifunction printers and copiers, to servers, computers, peripherals and more. No longer will you be compelled to “try to make things work out” with outdated technology because of cost constraints.
HaaS delivers a high level of service integrity and operational reliability. Combined with an ongoing managed services agreement with an MSP is also a good way to ensure the best operating practices are used with your hardware.
Too often, new hardware is purchased and maintenance is neglected due to costs. With a HaaS / MSP solution, the equipment and service is included in the SLA. You can forget about the potential implications of equipment failure and system crashes right after a warranty expires.
Just let your MSP resolve or better yet, proactively monitor and manage your systems to prevent the problem.
When you use a HaaS model, all the maintenance and updates that your hardware requires are handled by your MSP.
That means that you do not need to maintain an in-house IT support staff. This saves you even more money and helps you to run a lean and efficient operation.
Unlike with leasing hardware, with a HaaS model the IT support is included. With a MSP agreement, you know that your hardware is set up to run as smoothly as possible. All the latest patches have been installed, the virus protections have been updated and the system as a whole is being monitored by an expert at all times.
This level of support is hard to find, even if you have an IT staff inside your company.
HaaS has built in scalability. As your company grows or changes focus, so do your technology needs. With HaaS you can integrate any number of new components, from one to many, all depending on your business needs. In consultation with your MSP, together you can decide what equipment is right for you.
When it comes to IT hardware and security, new is often better. Network security sometimes requires both hardware and software updates.
With HaaS, it is an easy upgrade to the latest hardware if it is necessary for security reasons. Or your business may need a better or bigger appliance as a component of your backup or disaster recovery planning.
Whatever your network security needs, HaaS can be a key part of the solution.
Who Should and Should Not Use HaaS?
- Should.Almost any small to mid-sized business can benefit from using HaaS. This is especially true if the business is new, or about to grow, and will need to expand their use of hardware. HaaS makes it easy to get a wide range of technological resources without requiring a large capital investment.
- Should Not.For very large or very small companies, HaaS may not be the right option. The hardware needs of large companies are often so large that they prefer to manage everything themselves. For some small businesses, the hardware necessary to do business may be so minimal that having an MSP, while desirable, may not be a priority.
HaaS has a lot of benefits to offer, and many small businesses wonder why they ever bought their own hardware once they sign up for service. Your MSP can walk you through all the details, help you select the right package of hardware and get your company set up quickly and effectively.
So, should HaaS a part of your organisation’s technology road map, or strategic technology plan?