How Old is Too Old? How Often You Should Replace Your Business Computers

Every computer reaches a breaking point at some time in its lifecycle where the cost of keeping the computer outweighs the cost of replacing it.

This is usually due to a combination of factors, which include things like loss of productivity, security concerns, and an increasing need for service calls.

Businesses that work with an managed service provider will often know well in advance of a breakdown that they need to start thinking about a business computer upgrade. But those that don’t might keep hanging onto their old computers for longer than they should.

It may seem like “if it’s still working, it’s fine,” but using a computer longer than you should can mean you’re wasting money due to loss of productivity and other factors that you don’t even realize.

How often should you replace your business computers? The sweet spot is between 3-4 years, with five years being the maximum. We’ll tell you why next!

How Holding Onto Computers Too Long Can Cost You

Many factors go into the ongoing cost of ownership for a business computer. And as computers age, they can often cause those costs to increase. These include things like:

  • Service call costs: Is your older computer requiring twice the servicing as a newer one?
  • Productivity losses: How much slower are your employees because of a problematic pc?
  • Security costs: Is your older computer more of a data breach risk?
  • Downtime costs: How much work is being lost waiting on an older computer to be fixed?

We’ve reviewed some key data points from an Intel study related to optimum refresh cycle for a business desktop. The report provides details on key operational areas and why a 3 to 4 year computer replacement cycle, with 5 years being the max, makes sense for your bottom line.

Downtime Costs Get Significantly Higher After 4 Years

The data shows that the downtime between 0 to 36 months was identical and rose slightly between months 36-48. But after 48 months, the downtime costs for a computer were twice that of a three year old computer.

The following is a graph from the report related to age of PC vs downtime.

How costly is that additional downtime for older computers? Downtime can cost a small business a lot of money. So, the longer you hold onto your computer past about four years, the more minutes of downtime it’s costing you.

Data Loss is 3x Higher with an Older PC

Data loss due to a hard drive crash or other malfunction can cost businesses thousands of dollars in recovery costs. This is another area where there is an increasing cost the older a business computer gets.

Computers that were older than four years lost data 3x more than those that were younger than three years.

4+ Year-Old Computers Have More Security Breaches

Just one data breach or ransomware attack can cripple a small business and cause it to struggle for years trying to fully recover. Unsecure devices can leave your entire network at risk, including all the other devices connected to it.

This is another area where we see the risk go higher with the age of a business computer. Computers that were older than four years were breached 3x more often than computers that were under three years old.

Twice as Many Helpdesk Calls for Older PCs

Computer helpdesk calls can cost you in more than one way. You’re paying for the support call itself, plus any necessary work that the PC will need as a result of the call. The third cost factor is that the employee that uses that computer is stuck on the phone with support instead of being able to do their work, so they’re losing valuable productivity.

Two categories, monthly helpdesk calls per user and the length of the calls, both went up significantly for computers older than four years old.

The data from the Intel report shows that the average number of calls per user was fairly steady between months 0-36. Then went up slightly between months 36-48. Once a PC reaches over 48 months, it means nearly twice the support calls.

Additionally, for PCs under four years (36-48 months), average time on a support call was 36 minutes, but once the PC was over four years, the time jumped up over 55% to 56 minutes per call.

What all this data shows us consistently across several cost of ownership factors, is that replacing a PC before it gets older than 4 years can save you significantly in multiple areas.

Get Help Choosing the Best Hardware for Your Business Needs

We can help your business upgrade your computers and choose the most cost efficient and productive devices for your needs. We can also handle your data migration, worry-free.

Contact us today to schedule a cloud solution consultation! Call (+44) 0161 850 4323 or reach out online.

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