If you’re running a small business, chances are your budget is tight. You may consider buying new PCs a luxury you can’t afford, at least not right now. But if your employees are working on computers that are 5 years old or older, this could actually be costing you serious money.
Here are 3 ways using older computers can result in your business throwing away money.
1. Lost employee productivity
Older computers result in less-productive employees, for a variety of reasons. In a recent study of 3,297 small businesses in 16 countries, conducted by J. Gold and commissioned by Intel, the small businesses reported that employees using older PCs spent what could amount to 11 hours per year just waiting for their computers to start up.
That’s just one way employees are slowed down. Anyone trying to use new or resource-intensive software applications, load web pages, or run a number of applications at the same time on an old computer knows it can result in massive slowdowns. Computers with slower, less-powerful processors typically can’t handle the load.
When work doesn’t get done in a timely manner due to these slowdowns, business owners can mistakenly think they need to hire more employees to handle the work, which will likely cost more money. Or they may turn to cloud computing or Software as a Service (SaaS) to try to boost efficiency and save money.
However, while technologies such as cloud computing and SaaS may help somewhat, to make a substantial difference they would also require speed and processing power not available from old computers. Essentially, these services need more than an older machine can deliver.
Overall, the J. Gold study found that computers 5 years old or older can result in lost productivity, up to 29%. What does that mean in terms of dollars? Each older PC being used in your business could cost you up to $17,000 annually in lost productivity alone.
2. Computer malfunctions and upgrades
On top of lost productivity due to slower startup times and inefficiently running software applications, PCs that are 5 years old or older may also be more likely to break down or need upgrades to function properly.
While it may seem cost-efficient to just install more memory here, make a repair there, the money you’re dumping into outdated computers adds up. That's also money you could use to buy new PCs.
The J. Gold study discovered that over the course of a year, the small businesses surveyed estimated that about 43% of PCs 5 years old or older either malfunctioned or suffered a breakdown. The study also found that the average reported repair cost for these older PCs came to $662 a year.
Enough of such repairs could soon equal the cost of a better, more powerful new PC. Plus, those newer PCs are less likely to fail or malfunction.
3. Cybersecurity breaches
The last thing a small business wants is a cyberattack, whether that means being hacked or getting hit by malware. But cyberattacks can and do happen.
A survey by global insurance company Hiscox found that nearly half (47%) of small businesses experienced at least 1 cyberattack over the span of a year. Of these, nearly half had been hit more than once.
Unfortunately, the older your PC, the more vulnerable it may be to cyberattacks. In the J. Gold study, respondents estimated that nearly 35% of their PCs over 5 years old had been hit with malware or some other form of cyberattack. Meanwhile, fewer than 6% of their PCs under 1 year old had been attacked.
A data breach can be extremely costly for a small business, and that goes beyond the harm to your customers and your business’ reputation. In the Hiscox survey, small businesses estimated that the average cost of cyber incidents over the past year totaled $35,604.
Updating your PCs to the newest operating system available (currently Windows 10) is often the best way to boost your cybersecurity. But remember that running Windows 10 on an older computer means you may not have access to all the newest security features. And if you continue to run PCs on Windows 7, you should know that Microsoft stopped providing security features for that OS earlier this month.
So what should you do about it? Three tips:
> If your company's PCs are 5 years old or older, know that hanging on to them may not be saving you money. Instead, realize it could be costing you quite a lot.
> When you calculate the price of new computers for your business, remember to factor in potential savings from greater employee productivity, fewer repairs and security risks.
> When buying new PCs, be sure to look for the latest Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processors. These CPUs help computers to access information quickly and deliver reliable, efficient performance, enabling employees to work effectively and productively.
Upgrade your small business to new, more powerful PCs. It could be the best investment you'll make.