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Is Outdated Technology Harming Your Business?

Is Outdated Technology Harming Your Business?

One of the most common mistakes that businesses can make is hanging on to outdated technology. This is often due to the mistaken belief that not upgrading hardware or software can save money for the company. After all, as the expression goes, “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.”

However, according to a 2016 survey, businesses lose $1.8 billion per year in potential revenue due to outdated technology. As older devices tend to run slower and need more frequent repairs, the costs begin to add up. Additionally, they are more prone to cyberattacks from hackers due to their lack of security updates.

Here is a list of common pieces of technology and how often they should be refreshed to avoid potentially losing money for your business.

Computer Hardware

According to Intel, small businesses should refresh their computer selection at least every five years. Desktop computers tend to last longer than laptops, whose portability can come with a trade-off in durability.

The study shows that, on average, the average five-year-old computer requires $662 per year in maintenance costs and can reduce employee productivity by 29%, which also reduces a company’s potential revenue.


On the mobile side, new devices are recommended every two to three years, which is also (probably not coincidentally) the average length of a cell phone contract. As cell phones age, they not only begin to slow down but they lose the ability to be updated to the latest software, which can make certain features or apps inaccessible.

A business phone service like VOIP or a traditional landline can last a bit longer, usually between five and seven years. Many businesses hold onto them for longer, which results in reduced functionality. Newer phones can handle text messages, for example, whereas most older models can’t, which can be an additional avenue for customers to reach your business.


Tablet computers like the Apple iPad or the Samsung Galaxy Tab are also a staple of many businesses that are subject to reduced speeds and app incompatibility as time goes forward. Similar to laptops and cell phones, new tablets should be purchased either every three or four years or every other generation.

This is usually the amount of time before older software begins to sunset and these tablets cannot officially support the newest version of the device firmware, which will hamper their usefulness on the software side. For hardware, the newest devices will feature upgraded hardware and new features that older devices won’t support. This can also harm your business by possibly allowing competitors to receive an edge.

External Hard Drives

In addition to computers, many businesses should employ external hard drives as backups. If a computer is damaged or critical client files are accidentally deleted, having a backup on an external or network drive can solve most problems quickly and easily.

External, backup, and network drives should be replaced once every three years or so. The average lifespan for such a drive is roughly four years, but it’s better to replace it a few months early than a few months too late. Even the smallest amount of data loss can be potentially devastating to a business and could result in the loss of a customer or client.

How Old is My Device?

Ideally, a business should keep all invoices for its technology purchases, which will help ensure that devices are replaced promptly. However, that unfortunately isn’t always the case. Thankfully, there are a few other ways to determine a device’s age and ensure that it isn’t still being used towards the end of its lifecycle.

Every device will have a serial number, typically on the back or bottom of the device or within the “About This Device” settings on the software side. The manufacturer’s website should have a serial number lookup function that will give the approximate age of the device. Failing this, the item’s model number will reveal the exact date the product line was released, which can also be useful in determining age.

Summary and Conclusion

To avoid losing potential revenue and having to pay high maintenance costs for obsolete devices, it’s a good business practice to make sure that all devices are replaced within a few years of purchase. Doing so will actually save money in the long run and help make sure that your business can remain competitive against your rivals and increase employee happiness and productivity.

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