Tom Brooks

Selecting the Right Warranty for your Computer Hardware

It's more important than ever to select the right warranty for your computer or laptop

With the Worldwide Intel Chip shortage creating a limited supply of most consumer equipment, including desktop computers and laptops, making sure your devices last a long time is more critical than ever. You already know that it’s essential to purchase good equipment from reputable sellers. However, something that I find clients don’t always consider is making sure to protect their devices by selecting the right warranty for their computer hardware. In May of this year, Reuters reported that the chip shortage might last for several years, so new devices may become even more scarce than they are today.  

So, with manufacturer warranties being more crucial than ever, it’s essential to choose wisely. There are usually several types of warranties to choose from when making a purchase. Here at Kite Technology, we always recommend full coverage of workstations, laptops, and other office devices. Purchasing full coverage not only extends the life of an expensive device but also allows for the replacement of a device if it is beyond basic repair or accidentally damaged. 

In this article, I’ll review a few different warranty types so that you can be sure to select the right one when you purchase your next device.

Depot Warranty/Basic Hardware Service

Can you afford to have your device out of your possession for a few weeks? This is the question you must ask yourself when considering a Depot Warranty or Basic Hardware Service. Although it’s the least expensive warranty option, this option usually requires you to return the device for repairs if the manufacturer’s technical staff cannot repair the device virtually. In some cases, Kite Technology has experienced wait times of 4 to 6 weeks for the return of devices. If you can afford to go without your device for a few weeks, this may work for you. However, in this scenario, we highly recommend that you have a backup device that you can use while your other device is being repaired.  

Pro or Premier Support

The second level of warranties includes those that will, after a call to the technical desk, send a technician to your home or office to repair the device. One to five-year warranties are available for most machines but check with your manufacturer to be sure. Also, ensure that you understand what the exclusions are for these options

Pro or Premier Plus Warranty

The Pro or Premier Plus Warranties are what I recommend the most because they cover just about everything. As I mentioned previously, every manufacturer has different coverage, so you should always visit their official website to find out what is covered. However, this service is usually the best bet to protect your device AND get the on-site resources if needed, so you don’t have to go without what I’m sure is your most valuable business tool. Also, keep in mind that, sometimes, these warranties include Accident Protection and other much-needed coverage.  

Additional Computer Warranty Considerations

Below are some additional warranties that you’ll want to consider when selecting a warranty for your computer or laptop. Some manufacturers include these services in their top warranty offering, but others sell them as add-on services.

Warranty Extensions

If you are close to the warranty end-of-life on an existing device, a warranty extension (if allowed by the manufacturer) will continue to protect your device. When purchasing a warranty extension, I recommend that you purchase the full value of your device. It also keeps the responsibility on the manufacturer to maintain an inventory of parts and labor to service a device beyond the initial standard warranty.  

Hard Drive Protection

You’ll also want to consider Hard Drive Protection for your data. When repairing a device, some manufacturers will erase the entire drive in order to start with a clean Operating System; thus, you may lose your data. Hard Drive protection will save your data when it’s in the manufacturer’s hands. However, I highly recommend that you still back up your data even with the hard drive protection before sending your device for repair. 

Extended Battery Protection

The most vulnerable component in your laptop is your battery, and most manufacturers only warranty the battery on laptops for up to one year. Consider extending that to 3 years and read up on how to maintain your laptop battery so you can extend its life. 

Accident Protection

This one speaks for itself, and personally, I would never buy a laptop without it. You’ll want to keep in mind that each manufacturer (and third-party companies) have their exclusions to consider, so make sure you read the fine print.  

Hopefully, this article has helped clarify the differences between the various warranty options and help you select the right warranty for your computer or laptop. I’ll leave you with this final point – the warranty you select should not be based on price but on the service you want to receive, and the risk associated with not having the proper coverage. If you have additional questions about business class warranties or would like to learn more about the IT Services Kite Technology provides, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’d be happy to schedule a conversation and offer some insight into any technical challenges you are facing or projects you’d like to complete. 

Tom Brooks

Tom Brooks is the VP of Business Development at Kite Technology Group.  KiteTech provides Managed IT Services and Consulting to professional organizations and independent insurance agencies across the country.  KiteTech is proud to have earned the CompTIA Security Trustmark+, certifying that we meet or exceed security best practices. 

Why you Should Always Install Microsoft Updates

We’ve all been there. You sit down at your computer to get some work done when you receive a notification alerting you that Microsoft updates need to be installed. You think to yourself- “Didn’t we just do this 2 weeks ago?” So you hit Later and get started on your work.  

If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. We find that lots of people tend to put off or completely ignore Microsoft updates. Usually, the reasons fall into one of these categories: 

  1. Too Busy- I just turned on my device to get work done and don’t have time to do this now. I tell myself I’ll do it later when I’m not so busy. The problem is that I’m always busy!
  2. Not Needed- I don’t think I need that update; the system is working just fine. 
  3. Too Soon- I just did an update last week, so I question the necessity of installing another update so soon.

Can you relate?

The Bottom Line - Don't Ignore Microsoft Updates!

Microsoft updates should always be installed promptly. As inconvenient as they feel, Microsoft updates help shield you from hackers looking to exploit vulnerabilities they uncover in the Microsoft operating system. There is a great deal of personal and business data that can be compromised if a hacker gains access to your files. They could steal personal information like bank login credentials, personal pictures, as well as keystrokes to local and online accounts. They could also gain access to business files that include client and financial data, putting your business and clients at significant risk.

Businesses today, no matter the industry or size, are constantly being targeted by cybercriminals. Just a quick search will provide numerous statistics to scare even the most daredevil of a business owner. But don’t take my word for it. I would suggest searching “Hacking Statistics 2020” in your favorite browser just to get a snapshot of how Cyber Crime is an ever-increasing, growing threat. Many businesses falsely believe that they are not big enough or important enough to be a target. Cybercriminals are glad they think that way and are eager to take advantage of any opportunity they find.

Security reasons aside, installing your Microsoft Updates also ensures that you’ll have access to the latest and greatest features developed with your productivity in mind.

Additional Cybersecurity Considerations

Being diligent about installing your Microsoft updates is just one layer in the complete cocoon of safety we need to wrap ourselves in to protect our data. Some additional steps you can take to protect yourself and your business from cybercrime include:

1. Use MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication) wherever possible. MFA adds an extra layer of security by requiring you to verify your identity via SMS, phone call, or an app.  

2. Regularly update all applications that you use on your various devices like tablets and cell phones. These updates add valuable security features, enable your device to operate better, and give you access to new and improved functionality. Microsoft Office is an example of applications that will prompt you to update.

3. Do not open or click on unexpected emails or texts. Criminals will often hack email accounts and then use the victim’s account to send phishing emails to their acquaintances and friends. The intention is to trick the recipients to click on links or open attachments that will infect their system and compromise their data.

How a Managed IT Service Provider can Help

If your business is working with a Managed IT Service Provider or you have an internal IT department, it is likely that they can or already have automated the Microsoft update process for you. For example, here at KiteTech, we manage all Microsoft updates for our clients. To ensure this happens seamlessly, we recommend that each day users save the documents they were working on and log off or reboot their computer, leaving it powered on. We install updates overnight and reboot covered devices automatically to ensure they are secure. Users can then get right back to work the next day without delay. If you’re not working with an IT Provider, I would urge you to take the time and always install Microsoft updates promptly to protect yourself.

I hope you have found the information I shared today helpful and are convinced of the importance of installing Microsoft updates. Be sure to check out my article next month on what you need to know before purchasing business-class device warranties. If you have questions about KiteTech’s IT services and would like to learn how we can help your business operate more effectively, please contact us.

Tom Brooks

Tom Brooks is the VP of Business Development at Kite Technology Group.  KiteTech provides Managed IT Services and Consulting to professional organizations and independent insurance agencies across the country.  KiteTech is proud to be to have earned the CompTIA Security Trustmark, certifying that KiteTech meets or exceeds security best practices.