One of the most significant costs for small businesses, especially in the startup phase, is the cost of IT equipment. Essential hardware like printers, RFID scanners and servers require a substantial upfront investment and the expense of ongoing maintenance. Many small businesses are shocked to find that they have not properly budgeted for the hardware on which their day-to-day operations rely.
That is why the Hardware as a Service (HaaS) model has become so popular. Rather than purchasing hardware outright, or leasing it from a provider, essential technologies are provided by an IT provider for a monthly fee. Small businesses get all the functionality they need, but at a more manageable and predictable cost.
In some cases this hardware will be stored at a client's site, like in the case of wireless routers or printers, but whenever possible, the responsibility for housing the hardware falls on the IT provider, like in the case of large computer servers. The HaaS model has shown itself to be an ideal IT strategy for small businesses that need to carefully manage their resources.
Benefits of Using HaaS
- Cost Savings. Many small businesses turn to HaaS because it provides a number of opportunities to save money. Rather than paying the high cost of buying hardware, it can be rented for a monthly fee. That provides a more fixed-cost structure that is easy to budget for. It also allows businesses to add or subtract hardware from their IT infrastructure without having to make a long term investment in it.
- Smaller Staff. When you use a HaaS model, all the maintenance and updates that your hardware requires are handled by your IT provider. That means that you do not need to maintain an in-house IT support staff. That saves you even more money and helps you to run a lean and efficient operation.
- Expert Support. Unlike with leasing hardware, with a HaaS model the IT support is included. With automatic maintenance you know 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.
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 small businesses of only a few people, the hardware necessary to do business may be so minimal that having an IT partner is not 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 IT partner can walk you through all the details, help you select the right package of hardware and get your company set up quickly and effectively. To learn more about HaaS and other ways you can use technology to run your business more effectively, read our white paper “The Ultimate Small Business Guide to IT Outsourcing.”