(BPT) - 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 five years old or older, this could actually be costing you serious money.
How do older computers result in your business throwing money away?
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 by J. Gold, 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.1
And that’s just one of the ways 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 the speed and processing power not available from your old computers — asking more than an older machine can deliver.
Overall, the J. Gold study found that computers five 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
2. Computer malfunctions and upgrades
On top of lost productivity due to slower start-up times and inefficiently running software applications, PCs that are five years old or older may be more likely to break down or need upgrades to function properly. While it may seem more cost-efficient just to install more memory here, make a repair there — the money you’re dumping into outdated computers adds up. And that's money you could have used to invest in new PCs.
The J. Gold study discovered that over the course of a year, the small businesses that they surveyed estimated about 43% of their older PCs malfunctioned or suffered a breakdown. The study also found that the reported repair costs for PCs five years old or older are $662 per year, on average.3 Enough of such repairs could soon equal the cost of a better, more powerful new PC — and newer PCs are less likely to fail or malfunction.
3. Cybersecurity breaches
The last thing a small business wants is to have to cope with a cyberattack, whether that means being hacked or getting hit by malware, but it can and does happen. A survey by global insurance company Hiscox reported that 47% of small businesses experienced at least one cyberattack over the span of a year, and nearly half of those businesses had been hit more than once.4 Unfortunately, the older your PC, the more vulnerable it may be to cyberattacks. In the study by J. Gold, the respondents estimated that nearly 35% of their PCs over five years old had been hit with malware or some other form of cyberattack, while less than 6% of their PCs under one year old had been attacked.
A data breach can be extremely costly for a small business, beyond the harm to your customers and to the reputation of your business. In the Hiscox survey, small businesses estimated that the average cost of cyber incidents over the past year totaled $35,604.5
Updating your PCs to the newest operating system available (currently Windows 10*) is often the best way to boost your cybersecurity. However, running Windows 10 on an older computer means you may not have access to all the newest security features. If you continue to run an older operating system like Windows 7, you should know that Microsoft will not be providing security features for Windows 7 after Jan. 14, 2020.
What's the upshot? Consider the potential cost in terms of lost employee productivity, repairs and security risks when you calculate the price of new computers for your business. If your company's PCs are five years old or older, it may not be saving you money to hang on to them — it could be costing quite a lot. Look for PCs that run 8th Gen Intel® Core™i5 or Core i7 processors, which help computers access information more quickly, helping to deliver reliable and efficient performance to enable your employees to work more effectively and productively. Upgrading to newer, more powerful computers can be the best investment you can make in your business.
1 2018 web-based study commissioned by Intel and conducted by J. Gold Associates, LLC.
2 Also based on the 2018 web-based study commissioned by Intel and conducted by J. Gold Associates, LLC. 3,297 respondents from small business in 16 countries (Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, UAE, UK, USA) estimated that for PCs over five years old, employees would be up to 29% less productive, based on an average assumed employee’s salary of US$60,000, so that the lost productivity cost would amount to US$17,000. To review this statistic and the full report, see https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/business/small-business/sme-pc-study.html.
3 The percentage of malfunctioning computers is based on based on a 2018 web-based survey, commissioned by Intel and conducted by J. Gold Associates, LLC., of 3,297 respondents from small business in 16 countries (Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, UAE, UK, USA) to assess the challenges and costs associated with using older PCs.
4 The 2018 Hiscox Small Business Cyber Risk ReportTM commissioned Forrester Consulting to assess the organization's cyber readiness.
*Intel, the Intel logo and Intel Core are trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and/or other countries.