One business IT decision that can end up costing you significantly if you get it wrong is how long you should keep your business computers in operation.
It’s tempting to just keep them as long as possible, but what can end up happening is that you lose money in other ways, such as productivity going down, maintenance and repair costs going up, and being more susceptible to security breaches.
In a Microsoft study of business PCs, it was found that continuing to use old computers costs business owners an average of $2,736 per year. That’s more than the typical cost of a new business computer.
Once a PC gets too old, several problems crop up. With proactive management IT support, you can increase the usable life of a business PC. But even when maintained optimally, a PC will need to be put out to pasture eventually.
Why 3 to 5 Years Should Be Your Business Computer Replacement Cycle
The typical usable lifespan for a business PC is between three to five years. Factors that dictate whether you should replace your PCs closer to three years or closer to five are as follows:
- How much did the PC originally cost? (was it cheap or high quality?)
- How well it has been maintained
- Whether it has any recalled parts that haven’t been replaced
- Has it been optimized regularly? (e.g., temp file cleanup, etc.)
The Microsoft study looked at PC use at SMBs and identified that 70% of the businesses in the study had PCs older than 4-years old. It also found that 67% of those SMBs had experienced security issues or breaches in the past year.
Key takeaways from the study were that once a PC reaches more than 4-years old, it becomes more expensive to maintain than to replace. It’s also 2.7 times more likely to need to be repaired, costing an average of 112 lost productivity hours.
How do you know if you should replace at three years, four years, or five?
Here are some warning signs that it’s time to retire a business PC and replace it with a new version.
It’s Getting Slower
As computers age, they will naturally get slower. Uses will experience more freeze-ups and “spinning wheels” and the response time won’t be what it used to be.
While you can get a PC optimization done to try to speed up the system, if you notice this is only providing minimal help, then it could just be that the computer is worn out and needs to be retired.
It’s Spending Time in the Repair Shop
When you seem to be taking the computer into the repair shop more often, it’s a sign that it’s time to replace it. The Microsoft study noted that once a business PC was over four years, the annual maintenance costs ended up being enough to purchase two new business computers.
While productivity loss may be harder to notice, the fact that you’re spending more on PC repairs for a particular computer should be something that jumps out at you and says, “replacement time!”
You Can’t Upgrade the Operating System
If you reach a point where a computer doesn’t have the minimum system requirements to be upgraded to the latest Windows or Mac operating system, that is a big red flag that it needs to be replaced.
Running your PC on an outdated operating system or outdated software is a major security risk. It leaves you open to all types of network security attacks.
It Has Become Problematic (Unexpected Reboots, etc.)
Older PCs can be “quirky” and have new problems crop up. Users tend to adjust to these issues, which hurts productivity and doesn’t solve the underlying problem, which is that the computer needs to be replaced.
Things like unexpected reboots, strange lines showing up on the screen, or data being “lost” and then appearing again, are all signs the computer is about to fail.
The User Has Started Complaining That It’s Interfering With Their Work
Listen to your employees about their PCs. If someone starts yelling out in frustration more or complains that they can’t get their work done because their computer isn’t cooperating, that is a sign that you need to upgrade that computer.
When people are held back by their technology, it causes low morale, and some employees may end up leaving a company because they feel they don’t have the tools necessary to do their best work.
Need Help Upgrading to Quality, Affordable Business PCs?
Two River Computer can help your Fair Haven business find computers for your business that provide value without breaking the bank. We’ll also handle all your data migration for you so you can focus on your business.
Contact us today for a free consultation. Call 732-747-0020 or reach us online.