Top 10 tech upgrades to make your small business run faster

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6. Upgrade your RAM

Modern computers with 4 GB or more of random access memory (RAM) generally have sufficient memory for most user needs. The mantra "more RAM never hurts" continues to be relevant, though, and it's is bolstered by the sheer affordability of RAM.

For one, having enough RAM lets you reduce virtual memory or even turn it off entirely. This will result in a snappier experience for hard disk drive (HDD) systems, especially when they are heavily loaded. Newer laptops equipped with fast solid-state drives (SSD), on the other hand, will see more of their expensive flash-based storage space freed up.

Of course, a RAM upgrade may not be for everyone. One strange quirk of RAM memory modules is that, while the prices of slightly older chips tend to be cheaper, the reverse is true for those that are a generation behind. You can expect those prices to spike instead.

7. Upgrade to a solid state drive (SSD)

Deferring that company-wide system upgrade until Windows 8 adoption picks up? The easiest way to stretch the lifespan of an aging desktop or laptop is to upgrade the internal HDD to an SSD. The higher speed at which an SSD can read and write data, in turn, lets users boot up their systems and launch their applications faster.

A multiple-bay SSD

In fact, the effect of an SSD upgrade is immediately noticeable-more so than an increase in RAM or a processor upgrade. Aside from the benefits of getting things done faster, the speedup translates into greater user satisfaction. Moreover, SSDs don't have to cost a lot too; even a lower-end model will offer a significant system boost compared to a two- to three years-old mechanical HDD.

On the flip side, computers stuck with older computers running on the Parallel ATA (PATA) may be out of luck, since SSDs sold today are based on the newer Serial ATA (SATA) interface.

8. Get faster, more robust internet connectivity

It's surprising that some businesses would skimp on Internet connectivity despite their complete reliance on it to get things done. Without the Internet, crucial business emails would not be received, chat clients and VoIP conferences would grind to a halt and Web-based CRM and ERP systems would be inaccessible.

With this in mind, increasing Internet speed will certainly speed up file downloads and the loading of Web pages. An even better idea: Sign up for a second Internet line with another provider and load balance access between the two lines. Not only will this speed things up, it will also provide a safety net should your Internet connectivity fail.

9. Store data in the cloud

One way to gain access to business documents anywhere in the world is to load them into the cloud. (Obviously, a thorough evaluation of the attendant security risks of storing business data in the public cloud should first be conducted prior to making the leap.)

Assuming a decision to go ahead, online storage services such as Dropbox, Box and SugarSync are worth a look.

10. Use a faster USB flash drive

Ever spot cheap USB flash drives at the flea market and wonder about the large price difference with those you saw elsewhere?

Courtesy of
Some fast USB flash drives

Though part of the reason for the price disparity may be mark-ups imposed by more established shops, the truth is that not all USB flash drives offer the same kind of performance. The speed at which you can write files to or copy data from a flash drive varies depending on the electronics under the hood.

Raw access speeds are of little relevance for occasionally transporting small documents. Busineses that uses them with large files such as high-resolution photographs and computer assisted drawing (CAD) plans will appreciate faster flash drives. Instead of going for the cheapest USB flash drive, pay attention to the stated read/write speeds before buying.

This story, "Top 10 tech upgrades to make your small business run faster" was originally published by CIO.

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