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It can be difficult to imagine that the aging computers in your office are actually costing you money, but the reality is, they definitely are. Since we deal with old computers on a regular basis as Managed IT Support providers, we are often asked when companies should start looking to replace their equipment. Our recommendations for laptops is to replace them every 3 years, and every 5 years for desktops.

The reason for the difference in time frames is that within a laptop the parts are more compact, they are closer together or even integrated into one piece, and they usually work a little harder than a desktop. In either case, keeping a device past its prime is a recipe for disaster and could end up costing your company more.  There are 3 main areas that your old computers and devices are actually costing your company more money now and in the future, than if you were to upgrade on a regular schedule.

Operating System Vulnerabilities

We have previously mentioned how costly it can be to not have an updated operating system. As technology changes and becomes more advanced, new features are added to the operating system. Some of these new features are security patches that will fix vulnerabilities in the previous version, and some are brand new security features that have been newly created. In either instance, the newer operating system will likely take more space, more memory, and more processing power on your computer. An older system will not have the specifications necessary to handle the new operating system. If your older model computer is unable to load updates to the operating system, you will be leaving your business and network open to attacks.

If your network does become a victim of malware, it is extremely costly to repair. You will need to pay someone to clean up the damage, which could be thousands of dollars, depending on the severity of the attack. Another hidden cost is the damage a security breach could do to your company’s reputation. Nobody wants to be Equifax right now, and one key to keeping your customer’s data safe is to protect yourself from security issues.

Failing Parts

As a computer ages, the parts within will start to deteriorate. If you keep a car or a computer long enough, you will end up replacing all of the parts inside. For a computer, however, the cost of repairs can sometimes equal the cost of a new device entirely. The difficult thing about waiting for a failure to take place is that you never know when it will happen. It could happen right in the middle of a huge deadline that will now be missed, or during an important meeting with a client. You do not want these failures to come up when you are least expecting it. Failures never happen at a convenient time, so why put yourself through the stress?

These days computers and other devices can actually be really affordable, and even more affordable than attempting to fix an aging machine. There are even Hardware as a Service programs that allow for company’s to essentially subscribe to a service that will take care of regularly updating the machines. Replacing parts inside an aging machine can be counter productive, as you never know when the next part will fail. If the memory card fails today, and you spend hundreds of dollars replacing it, including the cost for the person to come and repair it at the last minute, tomorrow the hard drive could fail, and then the video card. Soon, you would have spent well over the amount you would have spent just purchasing a new computer.

Productivity Loss

Your employees can suffer productivity loss on many fronts when you are using computers that are past their prime. Loss of productivity could be costing your company a lot of money. When you are paying a person to do a job that requires twice as much of their time, they will be inefficient. You may even have to hire an additional employee to get the work done because they are unable to complete their work in the amount of time needed.

First, just as with the operating system, the newer software will not run as well, or even at all on an older machine. If you are able to get the software to install, it will still take up more space, use more memory, and max out the processing power when the user attempts to run the program. Paying a person to wait for minutes between clicks is just a waste of time and money. When an employee’s computer is functioning at optimal speeds they are able to complete their workload in time.

Second, when a part fails on an employees machine, they will lose a lot of time in productivity. According to Intel the average amount of time an employee loses when they need a part repaired on their computer is 42 hours! They may have to wait for a part to arrive, and then wait for someone to come out and fix the problem. Most people who work in an office do the majority of their tasks on a computer. When that computer fails, they could lose days of work. Depending on the extent of the failure, they will also lose valuable work hours as they try and get the repaired or new computer set up properly.

Even though the computers may still work now, they may not tomorrow, and that can be more damaging than replacing it today. Planning ahead for the replacement of your computers according to a proper timeline allows companies to perform these tasks after hours, or during a company retreat. This eliminates the surprise of a failure and saves everyone a lot of time and frustration.