When running any business in Brisbane, QLD, or the rest of the world, a major focus is balancing IT cost efficiency with productivity. During this balancing act, what sometimes happens is companies believing they’re saving money with a certain choice, only to find out it ended up costing them more.
One example is when they try to hang onto older desktop computers longer than the usable lifespan in order to get a few more years of return on their investment out of them. What they don’t realize is that things like lost productivity and security vulnerabilities can negate savings from waiting another year or two to upgrade hardware and cause other costly issues.
How long should you keep a business computer?
Exact lifespan can vary according to quality and use, but on average, a computer’s lifespan is 3 to 5 years.
If you wait longer than 5 years to replace your desktop workstations, what can happen? There is a list of issues you can potentially face that will increase IT costs, rather than reduce them, and present security and productivity challenges.
Why It Costs More to Use a Computer Past Its Usable Lifespan
Computers “age out” of being useful for a number of reasons, which necessitates an upgrade. These aging factors can include:
- Parts wearing out
- Systems specifications no longer support newer OS or software
- Wear and tear from daily use
- Hard drive failure
After 2 years of use, the average hard drive failure rate is 1.4%. By year 4, that failure rate jumps to 11.8%.
Here are the risks you take if you keep using your business desktops past 5 years, or their typical usable lifespan.
Data Loss from Hard Drive Failure
A computer’s hard drive is over 8x more likely to fail in year 4 than in year 2 of its lifespan, and the risk keeps going up from there.
Just like any other part, hard drives can fail due to age, and if you’re not prepared, it can result in losing all the data contained on that workstation and downtime while you’re addressing the emergency.
Data Breach or Malware Infection
Operating system developers put a specific age into each OS. In Microsoft’s case, the Windows lifecycle is about 10 years. If you’ve purchased a PC a few years after an operating system came out, there’s a good chance that in about 5 years, it could be getting close to end of life, which means no more security updates.
For example, on January 14, 2020, Windows 7 reached end of life, yet as of February 2020, approximately 25% of desktop/laptop users were still using it.
When you keep computers past their normal lifespan, you run the risk of using an outdated operating system because your PC doesn’t have the necessary specifications to be upgraded.
Using an OS that’s no longer receiving security updates, makes it a sitting target for hackers looking to exploit found vulnerabilities, and you expose your network to a data breach or malware infection. This can also result in data security compliance violations.
Can’t Take Advantage of More Efficient Software
The older a computer gets, the more chance there is that it won’t be compatible with newer business productivity tools coming out, which can leave your company behind your competition if you’re hanging onto workstations longer than you should.
Technology evolves at a rapid pace, and often those improvements bring new opportunities for costs reductions and improved efficiencies. For example, just 15 years ago, there were few business automations tools in place. But today, cloud tools have exploded, offering multiple ways to improve workflows by automating processes and using artificial intelligence.
You could end up hurting your bottom line by hanging onto older software processes, simply because your computers are too old to use newer ones.
Frustrated Employees & Poor Productivity
Computers get slower as they age, ruining productivity as employees continually have to wait on programs to respond. Using older computers can lead to poor morale and frustrated employees who are just trying to do their jobs but get held back by the workstation they’ve been given.
There is often a disconnect between managers and employees on whether they have sufficient technology tools to do their jobs. A multi-country study found that while 90% of C-suite executives say their company is paying proper attention to worker technology needs, only 53% of their employees agree.
Holding onto those old workstations can cost companies in productivity losses and hurt their employee retention rates.
Spend Less and Get More with Connected Platforms!
There are better ways to reduce your overhead than keeping workstations past their usable lifespan. Connected Platforms can help your Brisbane area business identify opportunities for cost efficiency while not sacrificing other areas of your operations.