New research uncovers impact of owning old PC on SMBs in Asia-Pacific

SMBs running Windows 7 devices within the organization should seek to make the shift before End of Support in January 2020

Legacy computers may be costing businesses more than upgrading to the latest models available at the market today. Technology companies Microsoft and Intel commissioned research firm Techaisle to see the impact of modern devices at work to small and medium businesses (SMB).

The study revealed that a PC older than four years old is 2.7 times more likely to undergo repairs, resulting in loss of productivity. It is surprising to learn that 85 percent of larger SMBs, with more than 500 employees, have PCs that are older than four years, compared to 60 percent in smaller SMBs employing less than 100 employees. This underscores the widespread usage of older devices within SMBs in the region. The cost of maintaining a PC more than four years old is $2,736 per device — enough to replace the aging hardware with two or more new PCs.

SMB IT market research and analyst Techaisle surveyed 2,156 SMB organizations across the Asia-Pacific for the said study.

“PCs are the productive engines for most SMBs in the region, where organizations rely heavily on their devices for their day-to-day tasks,” said Bradley Hopkinson, vice president, Consumer and Devices Sales, Asia, Microsoft, in a media release. “However, 7 in 10 SMBs surveyed have PCs that are older than four years, which significantly increases maintenance costs. With budget constraints being the No. 1 IT challenge among SMBs today, business leaders should seek to adopt a device modernization strategy so that they can maintain costs while safeguarding their organization from newer digital risks.”

The latest security software may no longer be able to support legacy PCs because their hardware may have become obsolete. This is what makes these old computers more vulnerable to cyber attacks compared to the new models as the study found out that in the last year alone, as high as 67 percent of SMBs may have experienced PC security and data theft breaches, with only 15 percent of them actually reporting these attacks.

“With a modern PC powered by Windows 10, SMBs can be assured of up-to-date security updates, powered by cloud intelligence that proactively protects their businesses,” said Hopkinson. “By reducing the potential risk of cyber threats with a modern PC, SMBs can definitely improve their productivity and avoid downtime.”

Respondents in the study identified their top business priorities as increasing profitability, business growth and improving workforce productivity. The study highlighted that SMBs are looking at IT as a response to address their business issues. The top IT priorities included investing in PCs, cloud solutions and security solutions.

“We found that the key barriers in migrating to a newer device were concerns of legacy applications not being able to work on a newer operating system, along with the lack of budgets,” said Anurag Agrawal, CEO and analyst, Techaisle.

Not all SMBs are aware of the disadvantages of owning an old PC or that not many of them realize what it costs their businesses. They see it more as an expense rather than an investment. The study found that more than 42 percent of PCs used in SMBs are still on older versions of Windows today.

Agrawal suggests that SMBs re-evaluate their decision given the higher cost of maintaining older PCs which has a larger cumulative effect on the budget than purchasing newer PCs with the latest technology.

For those SMBs who upgraded their PCs, the study found out that 69 percent felt that they were better able to secure and protect their business data on newer PCs; 65 percent agreed that it has helped reduce overall maintenance costs; 63 percent saw improved efficiencies due to new experiences powered by cloud and mobility solutions, and 62 percent agreed that a newer PC has made their staff more productive.

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