This question has come up a few times recently in my travels and so I thought it would make sense to cover in an article.
It’s the age old question of…
Should I buy or should I rent when it comes to tech?
If you’re a modern business that leverages the cloud - you’re already renting the following items.
Your Email Services via Microsoft or Google.
Your Microsoft Office licensing via Office 365.
Your File Storage from Microsoft, Google or Dropbox.
Your Email Archiving via various cloud providers.
Your Cloud Phone System.
Your Internet Router from your ISP.
Your Firewall via a Managed Security Service.
Your CRM via Salesforce or some other cloud CRM provider.
Your Accounting System from QuickBooks, Sage or NetSuite.
Your Marketing System from HubSpot, InfusionSoft or MailChimp.
Your Web Site Hosting.
As you can see, there are many things that you are already renting.
Although they’re called a subscription service the concept is still very much the same.
You basically pay to have access to the service or product.
While many businesses have knowingly or unknowingly adopted cloud technology.
There are still some people who want to buy their tech.
In some cases it makes sense and in other cases it doesn’t
Here are some items where buying comes into the picture.
Wi-Fi Access Points
Each of the items just listed are also available via subscription.
But in certain cases the ROI is better when you buy.
Take for example a network switch.
It makes sense to buy - since the life cycle replacement on a switch is long.
In other cases technology changes rapidly with a more frequent refresh rates.
In those cases the cost model and ROI just doesn’t make sense.
In these cases subscription is the way to go.
The rule of thumb is this.
What’s the recommended life cycle replacement for an item and how often does the technology refresh?
Once you have a handle on life cycle and refresh rates then you can do a cost model.
Need a cost model? I do that.
Still some people are dead set on purchasing a piece of equipment because well…
That’s the way they’ve always done it.
Sometimes it’s done out of fear.
Fear that a vendor is somehow trapping them into a service.
Fear that somehow they will not be able to get out later.
Basically - Fear of relationship breakup.
The unknown is scary.
I get that.
To that mindset I offer the following.
If you rent a firewall from a provider and you want to change providers later you have 3 options.
1 - Cancel the service and rent a new firewall from the new provider.
2 - Keep the same provider for the firewall and switch your other services to a new provider.
Or if you really really want to…
3 - Buy a new firewall and shell out a chunk of change.
In any case you’ll have to pay an installation fee.
And a management fee.
When it comes to rent versus buy - shelling out a chunk of change now versus later is only one of two decisions you’ll need to make.
The second decision is…
How will the device be managed?
You see, the expectation for how a device is managed does not change.
The cost of management, monitoring and maintenance don’t go away when you buy something.
Every device in your tech environment should be properly managed, monitored and maintained to operate properly.
To be fair - some devices are more set and forget than others.
Even so, devices like firewalls for example need regular monitoring and maintenance to minimize risk.
A huge benefit of a subscription service is that the item is managed, monitored and maintained.
Updates are included and issues are typically resolved quickly.
When you buy something the responsibility shifts to you the buyer.
And as a business owner - your truly better off having someone else manage your tech.
Hopefully this clarifies some misconceptions about buying versus renting technology for your business.
If you have any questions feel free to reach out.
Happy to help.