The simplest way SMBs avoid end-of-life technology drama is by offloading all preventative endeavors to an MSP with a well-defined and repeatable process.
Since we’re talking about IT systems with several hundred components, integrations, and interdependencies, minor oversights lead to significant breakdowns and downtime.
IT mishaps always remind me of the game Jenga when the giant tower collapses because the losing team removes the wrong piece.
We’ll cover three reasons supporting our recommendation to outsource the administration of your technology lifecycle to a qualified managed IT services provider.
#1 – End-of-Life (EOL) Technology is Frequently Confused with Other Acronyms
The terms “end-of-life” (EOL) technology and “end-of-sale” (EOS) technology are frequently used interchangeably.
“End-of-support” (EOS) and “end-of-support life” (EOSL) also appear in “end-of-life” Google searches, along with “end-of-service/support.”
To add intrigue to the exercise, developers and manufacturers use different terminology, which makes deciphering the jargon and acronyms confusing.
Technology decision-makers should master two basic terms succinctly defined by Service Express.
End-of-Life means companies like Cisco, HPE, Watchguard, and Lenovo stop marketing, selling, or updating your equipment after a specific date.
You still have some time at this stage.
Although the manufacturers have stopped offering firmware, patches, or upgrades, they continue to provide post-warranty support. And third-party maintenance is available for most end-of-life equipment
End-of-Service, AKA end-of-support life, indicates the ending of services and updates for server, storage, and network equipment. This milestone is the final deadline for sales, updates, or hardware support contract renewals.
You don’t want to get stuck here.
#2 – End-of-Life Technology Alerts Aren’t Seamlessly Automated
I’ve been in the MSP business since 2003 and just learned that end-of-life technology alerts aren’t automated or seamless.
How can that be? MSPs monitor, manage, support, and secure SMB IT systems and users. They also provide strategy, planning, administration, technology implementation, and procurement through wholesalers like Ingram Micro and TD SYNNEX.
With over 1,700 information technology products and services partners, one might assume Ingram Micro sends end-of-life, end-of-sale, end-of-service, and end-of-support alerts directly into the professional service automation (PSA) platforms MSPs use to manage their clients.
This is not happening.
On a positive note: the vendors that sell through Ingram Micro send end-of-life alerts via email and, by default, into MSP PSA platforms. However, you or your MSP must register all products and services at the time of purchase. It sounds simple enough, but this detail is easy to miss.
Other Potential Risks
Some technology providers are more diligent and organized than others.
Many companies and MSPs don’t maintain solid documentation and workflow rules to manage the process.
When end-of-life information isn’t shared with a team of responsible stakeholders, a departing employee can exit the company with these details and expose the organization to outages, cyber breaches, and compliance liability.
Learn More: Outdated Medical Devices and Cyber Risk
#3 – End-of-Life Components Have Interdependencies with Related Components with Different Life Spans
End-of-life components have interdependencies with hardware and software programs with different EOL dates.
Some of the timeframes match, while others don’t overlap. The end dates vary. If you have plenty of time and a sharp attention span, the internet is overloaded with end-of-life and end-of-service details from manufacturers and developers.
The following links are helpful. However, we’re not sharing these resources as an invitation to journey down a rabbit hole, especially if you’re not a system engineer, network engineer, cloud architect, or CTO. We hope you’ll take a peek and immediately engage with your MSP.
- Cisco End-of-Sale and End-of-Life
- HPE End-of-Life List
- Lenovo End-of-Service for Servers, Storage, and Networking Products
- Microsoft End-of-Support 2023
- Microsoft Product Lifecycles
- VMware Lifecycle Policy
- Watchguard End-of-Life Policy
- Windows End-of-Life Dates
- Windows Server End-of-Life Dates
If you just spent five minutes looking around, and you’re motivated to get help, our job is almost complete.
Allow Your MSP to Run the Show
When your MSP runs the show, they protect you from oversights, so you never have to worry about single points of failure and other unpleasant surprises.
This is especially true if your MSP agreement includes the services of a dedicated vCIO to ensure you have responsible IT architecture.
vCIOs create a strategy, manage a budget, and recommend IT solutions that effectuate your business goals. Their essential duties include:
- Conducting technical assessments of client IT systems
- Cataloging all hardware, software, and cloud apps on IT roadmaps
- Methodically improving and replacing each component based on its useful life
- Registering all purchases with manufacturers and developers and setting workflow rules and reminders in their PSA
- Continuously researching solution provider websites, reading whitepapers, and attending webinars
- Working directly with developers and manufacturers for verification
Are you staying ahead of the technology life cycle? Do you have a handle on upcoming end-of-life and end-of-support dates?
Schedule a free consultation if you want to see where you stand.