Delaying PC Purchases Cost SMBs More in the Long Run

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

Small and midsized businesses looking to save money on their IT budgets may be costing themselves more by delaying new PC purchases, according to a new study. Older PCs cost businesses more in ongoing maintenance costs, lower productivity, security breaches and system failures than newer computers -- in some cases over $700 more a year.

It’s no secret that businesses large and small have put their IT budgets under pressure, typically delaying their PC refreshes and leaving users with laptop or desktop computers that are 4 or 5 years old.

But a new study conducted by market research firm Techaisle shows that delaying PC purchases can actually cost businesses more on system failures, viruses, lost productivity and ongoing maintenance.

The new study shows that 26 percent of small businesses and 43 percent of midsized businesses are planning to keep their PCs longer than they normally would. That’s in spite of the fact that the average SMB IT budget has grown by 4.6 percent, according to the study.

But that tactic could cost the businesses more than they bargained for in the long run. Adding the costs of maintenance, upgrades and out-of-warranty service, small businesses will pay $545 per year for the PCs they keep in service past three years, and medium businesses will pay $709.

Older PCs are also more vulnerable to security breaches, according to the report, which shows an increase of up to 58 percent in virus incidents with PCs over 3 years old. Once infected, users experience a 23 percent increase in related downtime to fix desktop systems and a 22 percent increase for notebooks.

Older PCs can pose a number of other problems, too, from hard drive failures to motherboard failures to network card breakdowns to power supply failures.

Hard drive failures on newer PCs totaled 8 percent, compared with 33 percent on older PCs. Motherboard failures on newer PCs totaled 4 percent, compared with 14 percent on older PCs. Network card breakdowns totaled 6 percent on newer PCs, compared with 26 percent on older PCs. And new PCs experienced power supply failures 11 percent, compared with failures among 49 percent of older PCs.

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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