Keeping Windows 10 PCs up-to-date can help organizations reduce costs, increase productivity and improve security.
Is a penny saved really a penny earned? Not when it comes to running outdated PCs. Research shows that trying to wring the last bit of usefulness out of desktop and laptop computers ultimately results in maintenance, productivity and security expenses that far outweigh hardware replacement costs.
Small to midsized businesses (SMBs) using PCs that are more than four years old and running older operating systems will spend around $1,500 per device on maintenance, according to a Techaisle survey commissioned by Microsoft. That’s enough to buy three newer Windows 10 PCs.
Lost productivity is even more expensive. The study found that a PC more than four years old is also four-and-a-half times more likely to require repairs, resulting in an average of 70 hours of lost productivity per year per PC.
It’s not just downtime that limits productivity, either. Older machines with older operating systems have memory and processor speed limitations that make it increasingly difficult to run multiple business applications simultaneously without performance issues. Those issues will only be amplified as new technologies emerge.
“No matter where businesses are on their transformation journey, managing technology lifecycles and where the technology interfaces with employees is critical,” said Phil Vokins, Cloud Services Director for Intel Americas and Canada. “Beyond the very real impact on productivity and maintenance costs, older PCs can compromise cybersecurity, as well as overall employee engagement.”
Advanced Security Measures
PCs running older operating systems are especially vulnerable to threats. But even if a older PC is running Windows 10, it is less secure than never systems. Because software by its nature can be corrupted and changed, hardware-based security controls are increasingly important.
The Techaisle survey found that older Windows 10 PCs experience three times more malware attacks and three-and-a-half times more phishing attacks than more modern Windows 10 PCs. Two-thirds (67 percent) of SMBs running older systems experienced a security breach that cost 3.3 percent of revenue, on average. More than three-fourths (77 percent) said that “better security features” was the second most important consideration when purchasing new PCs.
Newer Windows 10 machines feature an array of advanced security features such as built-in identity and information protections that reduce implementation complexity and improve the user experience. Enhanced user identities improve resistance to breach, theft and phishing. Windows 10 also improves data loss prevention by using containers and data separation at the application and file level.
Windows 10 also uses virtualization-based security to create an isolated, hypervisor-restricted subsystem for storing, securing, transferring and operating other sensitive subsystems and data. It is essentially an architectural change that vastly reduces the attack surface area and attempts to eliminate the attack vectors themselves. As such, it makes it very difficult for attackers to tamper with core components of the operating system.
Considering these benefits, it seems clear that investing in newer Windows 10 desktops and laptops represent a strategic investment for SMBs. However, 40 percent of SMBs do not have a PC refresh policy or don’t track the lifecycle of their systems, and 32 percent are using PCs that are more than four years old.
More than two-thirds of SMBs who did upgrade their systems agreed that newer Windows 10 PCs reduced their overall costs. They also reported that newer PCs lead to significant improvements in application performance, with half as many incidents of application slowdowns or crashes. Other positive business impacts cited include:
- 72 percent reported improved cloud connectivity and an overall improved cloud usage experience
- 71 percent said their employees are more productive
- 69 percent said they reduced maintenance costs
- 69 percent said they achieved better security and data protection
- 68 percent reported an improved remote work experience
- 66 percent said hardware management improved
Desktop hardware remains an essential tool for most business users today. IDC recently reported that 80 percent of business users say they prefer using a desktop or laptop computer over a tablet or smartphone for office productivity. However, older PCs without the latest hardware upgrades can limit users’ productivity, increase maintenance costs, heighten risk and prevent users from experiencing the full business benefits of Windows 10.