IT has become an increasingly important investment for businesses, but computer technology can be expensive. As a result, the typical rationale when contemplating a replacement or upgrade of computer equipment is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Although this rationale may work for some non-computer equipment, the true cost of using old computer hardware and outdated software can be more than you think. Ultimately, this risky practice could end up costing you a fistful of dollars.
Direct Costs: Maintenance & Repair
The costs of using outdated equipment can add up quickly in a variety of ways. As a computer gets older, it will require more and more maintenance to keep running properly. Maintenance costs include the cost of repairing issues and malfunctions, ongoing maintenance and troubleshooting, and lost time spent addressing repeated issues/problems. According to a recent study done by TechAisle the cost of maintaining PCs more than 3 years old is between $326 and $401 per PC per year. By way of comparison, the study notes, “the cost of owning and maintaining a 3-year-old PC can be as high as 1.3 times that of a PC less than 3 years old.”
Indirect Costs: Reduced Productivity & Decreased Security
Continuing to use older computer equipment also causes a decrease in productivity and often an increase in security risks. There becomes a point where the older equipment simply can’t deliver the performance and advanced features that newer equipment can. Older systems can be frustratingly slow and have difficulty running modern programs and applications effectively. A good rule of thumb is not to run computers beyond five years in business because the cost in lost productivity starts to add up to more than an entirely new computer! Even a few minutes a day really adds up. Imagine an average computer user loses 9 minutes a day or 45 minutes per week in productivity due to slow-running or crashing old machines. The cost in lost productivity annually on an employee making a $40,000 per year salary—$750—is more than an average new machine.
In addition, while older hardware and software may still work after reaching their end-of-life dates, there is a point at which they will no longer be supported by the manufacturer. This means you won’t be receiving any security patches or other type of updates specifically intended to fix system vulnerabilities and minimize your risk of exposure to cybercriminals. If your security and anti-virus systems aren’t 100% up-to-date, you are putting your entire system at risk.
Increased Systemic Risks
Besides increasing your vulnerability to hackers, viruses, malware, and other cyberthreats, using old, outdated hardware puts you at risk of irretrievably losing data and information. While every business should have a comprehensive, redundant data backup and data recovery plan, many still don’t. Old computers and software are more prone to bugs, crashes, and failures that can mean your data is lost forever. Whether it’s your music collection, your hard drive full of pictures of your firstborn, or the 30-page brief you were almost finished drafting, your data is precious and irreplaceable. Making sure your equipment and software is up to date can help make sure you never have to access your cloud-based data backup solution or offsite backup systems to recover your data when you suffer a system or program crash.
When you consider all of costs and risks of continuing to use old and out-of-date computer equipment and software, it usually makes sense to replace or upgrade. Understanding a proper risk assessment and how to prioritize the equipment that’s essential to daily operations can be challenging if you don’t already have managed IT services. At Dymin, we can help you evaluate your current equipment and plan an upgrade—within your budget. You can’t afford not to take a look! Come visit our showroom in Urbandale, Iowa, to check out our selection of new and refurbished computer systems or click below to schedule a consultation in your own office.