The death of a desktop
Anyone who experienced life before the 1980s will remember a time when home and office appliances were built to last. Lifetime guarantees were the norm and the Hoover vacuum cleaner literally outlived the grandparents. The same can’t be said for the desktop computer of today. Planning ahead for its relatively short lifespan is crucial for good business.

While the physical body of a desktop computer might last for decades, its use and function as a business computer is between 3 to 5 years, depending on what it’s used for. Choosing to keep business computers for over this length of time comes with a whole set of risks and problems.

Slow computer
Computers over 3 years old will quite simply be slower. Coping with the onslaught of continuing upgrades and updates will have it moving at a crawl. This is no good for productivity, not to mention the sanity of the user. The alternative is to run old software and ignore the updates but this comes with its own risk. Without the latest upgrades to software, computer performance will not be at its optimum. More importantly, it remains exposed to new security flaws that the upgrades remedy. Without support, your business computers are sitting ducks for security breaches.

Support comes and goes
Most software is bought with some degree of IT support. Microsoft in particular provides support for all their operating systems. This includes access to continuing improvements and protection from emerging security threats, but the support is finite. Eventually the time comes when it is removed and systems are left to fend for themselves. Microsoft only just recently removed support for their operating system Windows XP. In response, most of us upgraded to Windows 7 to minimise security risks and IT costs. The thing to realise is that Windows 7, just like XP, will eventually be retired too. Moving on before the support is retired is often a wise and potentially dollar saving move.

Computer crash
The worst-case scenario when keeping a desktop for longer than 3 to 5 years is that the computer will potentially start to crash. We can all imagine the nightmare unfolding if our business computers crashed. It’s a scenario to be avoided. It needs to be accepted that the life span of a business computer is no more than 3 to 5 years. Trying to extend its lifespan is inviting trouble.

While 3 to 5 years seems a short time, it needs to be viewed through the lens of technology in general. The fast pace of changing and improving technology suggests that in 3 to 5 years anything might be possible. Desktops may no longer even exist — we might wear them as a wristwatch or implant them inside our heads! But before we get ahead of ourselves, right now 3 to 5 years is a pretty good deal in technological terms. If your business computers are approaching their use by date, embrace the joy of a brand new hard drive and avoid the potential pitfalls of an aging business computer.

For a high level assessment of your IT network, which will identify areas of risk or areas lacking, use our Network Self-Assessment tool. It’s quick and easy and will reveal areas for improvement in your business.

Contact the Grassroots IT Team: 1300 554 138