19 Nov Kick that Computer out of Your Office – For Good
By: Page W. Moon, CIO, Focus Data Solutions
Let’s face it. Business-grade computers are expensive. Our instinct is to want to get as much use out of them as possible. Many companies replace an outdated, out of warranty computer (See last month’s post on that topic), only to store it in a closet for that “just in case” moment or next summer’s intern. While seemingly a good idea, I’m proposing five reasons why, from an IT perspective, this is not a smart decision.
Direct Costs: Maintenance and Repair
As the computer ages, it becomes more and more expensive to maintain in working order. Maintenance costs include management, monitoring, repair, ongoing maintenance and lost time and productivity. Recent studies reveal that the cost of maintaining a computer more than 3 years old is 30% more expensive.
Indirect Costs: Productivity Loss
Slow computers impact your bottom line. Just 10 minutes a day of lost productivity for a $40K employee amounts to nearly $800 per year. And if this employee is a bread winner for the company, that means not only it the staff member costing money, but they aren’t making any either. So how much is that old computer costing you? $5,000 or more a year? Yep, sure is.
Security Risks Are Real
As a computer ages the information about the computer’s vulnerabilities increases. Furthermore, as the software running on that computer ages, it too becomes exposed, or even discontinued. These leave the business owner at risk.
An out-of-date computer, without an up-to-date operating system, proper patching, and security systems (like that computer stored in the office supply closet), is a significant threat to a corporate network. Reintroducing an “old:” machine back into the network, you’re offering hackers an easy target to breach your network.
The chance of a data loss is increased
Giving that old computer to the intern is a choice, but what happens when they store all their files on the hard drive, and it crashes? If it’s not attached to the network (See our next point) and backing up to a server or the cloud, there is a larger risk that files and significant work will be lost.
There are many names for it depending on your perspective (System failure, catastrophic failure, end of life, or amusingly Engineered Obsolescence) but they all mean the same thing. As a computer ages, the possibility of a computer and data failure increase at a rapid pace. There is, without a doubt, a very high risk of failure as the computer ages beyond three years.
The next time you’re tempted to put those old computers in the storage closet, take a moment to consider if the cost, productivity lost, and security risk is worth the “just in case” scenario.