Past-it PCs cause data loss and damage productivity

With just 40 per cent of companies completing a technology refresh cycle on target in the past three years, the chances are that many of your office computers are ‘past-it PCs’. In the UK, the average workplace computer should have been thrown on the scrapheap over two years earlier and is twice as old as the average computer used in Germany.

As a result, more than four people in ten said that their PC is damaging their efficiency by crashing and losing data. With 25 per cent of those saying they were ‘significantly’ or ‘very much’ affected by these incidents, businesses that don’t protect the data on their computers with solutions such as online backup are losing time and money as a result.

With frustrated employees losing data on their past-it PCs, it’s little wonder that they take matters into their own hands. A quarter of workers think that ‘bending the rules’ is the fastest way to getting a new device, with 13 per cent saying that deliberately smashing a phone or laptop is the most expedient route to getting something that allows them to work properly. In 2011, Mozy surveyed 600 IT managers and 3,000 employees across the UK, France and Germany regarding the use of technology and data within their organisations. Click here to find out more or here to learn how to protect your data.

Executive Summary

The large majority of Small-to-Medium Businesses (SMBs) risk data loss through their failure to replace ‘past-it PCs’ in all countries surveyed.

Economic downturn means past-it PCs are putting data at risk

SMBs are increasingly abandoning the typical three-year computer refresh cycle as a result of the economic downturn. Just 40 per cent of businesses had planned and stuck to an upgrade programme.

The average age of a work computer in the UK is over five years old, much higher than in France (three years and two months) and much, much higher than Germany, where computers are, on average, only two years and seven months old (half the age of those used in UK organisations).

A quarter of employees surveyed stated that events such as computer crashes and data loss significantly affected their ability to work.

Shockingly, over a quarter of the office workers surveyed feel that the quickest and most efficient method of replacing outdated technology, such as laptops and mobile phones, is to deliberately destroy or irreparably damage them.

The retail sector most frequently refreshes its IT equipment and is the most likely sector to stick to the standard three-year refresh cycle.

Death of the three-year refresh cycle

Just 40 per cent of companies stuck to a three-year refresh cycle. Has your company delayed a planned upgrade of its PCs in the last three years?

The survey found that, in the UK, only three out of ten companies admitted that they stuck to planned refresh cycles while French respondents rank slightly below average (38 percent) and Germany topped a 51 per cent scheduled refresh-rate. Across Europe as a whole, just 40 per cent of companies had met their upgrade plans.




Economic downturn prevents technology refresh

The most common reason for still having ‘past-it PCs’ was the impact of the economic downturn. Has your company delayed a planned upgrade of its PCs in the last three years?

When asked what affected their device refresh plans, 28 per cent stated the economic climate was the root cause. France was slightly above average in its propensity to blame the recession with 32 per cent of businesses citing the current economic downturn as the main reason for delaying a technology upgrade.

Graph Key

1. No - we had no intention to upgrade during the past three years
2. No - we stuck to our refresh schedule
3. Yes - because of the stagnant economic climate/shrinkage IT budget
4. Yes - our company does not operate a strict device refresh cycle policy
5. Yes - our organisation has a delayed refresh to fit wider desktop management company plans


Graph Economic Downturn

Past-it PCs are rife in Europe

European companies risk data loss as a result of outdated technology.  How old are the computers that are used in your organisation?

The average age of a work computer in the UK is five years and two months - twice the age of those used in German companies, and about two years older than those used in France (three years and two months).

Graph How Old Are The Computers


With the average PC in the UK due to be refreshed after three-and-a-half years, a typical computer in the UK is more than 18 months past the time it was earmarked for scrapping.

Past-it PCs cripple productivity

25 per cent of people experiencing issues say they're impacted 'significantly' or 'very much'.

How far is the performance of your main office computing device impacting your efficiency?

'Past-it PCs' face inherent issues of crashing and data loss, which inhibit company and employee efficiency. More than 40 per cent of those surveyed across the UK, France and Germany found their work efficiency is compromised through such issues, of which a quarter stated they were affected 'significantly' or 'very much'.

Frustrated employees smash company devices

Europeans risk data loss as the seek their own means of obtaining updated technologies for work.

The research exposes a worrying trend for workers forced to take matters into their own hands and deliberately smash their phones and laptops in order to get new ones: with no regard for the loss of data this causes their employer.

13 per cent of the UK workforce said that the quickest way to a new device was to deliberately and irreparably damage their PC, laptop or mobile phone. On the continent, the French were found to be most likely to select this option with over 20 per cent believing that a 'smash job' was the simplest way to a new computer. In total, more than a third of office workers across Europe thinks that their fastest route to a new device is to cheat the system, either deliberately damaging (13 per cent) or trading in their existing device (15 per cent), or buying news parts to perform an upgrade themselves (7 per cent).

What do you think is the quickest way for someone to get a new phone or laptop in your company?

Graph Frustrated Employee

Graph Key

1. Put forward a business reason for an upgrade to my line manager.
2. Complete a requisition form and wait for procurement or IT to approve and provide new device.
3. Trade the existing device in at a local store for a new one myself.
4. Break my existing device and request a replacement.
5. Buy new parts/software and perform an upgrade themselves.
6. Claim I need a new device for a new starter.

Retail sector bucks trends

Retailers are the most likely to have stuck to their refresh cycles. Has your company delayed a planned upgrade of its PCs in the last three years?

In spite of the impact of the economic downturn, the retail sector, across all three countries, was most likely to stick to a three-year refresh cycle, with nearly 50 per cent of respondents having completed their upgrades according to plan.

This is, perhaps, an indication that the retail sector is innovating out of recession and relying on technology as a roadmap to profitability.

70 per cent of UK SMBs risk data loss

Without meeting regular refresh targets, SMBs are left with computers that put their data at risk. Time for SMBs to focus on data protection.

Seven Small-to-Medium Businesses (SMBs) out of 10 risk corporate data loss through failure to replace old PCs and technology. Across Europe, the UK, France and Germany are failing to update their technology, risking employee productivity, security and overall business operation.

The survey revealed that UK SMBs are increasingly abandoning the typical three-year PC refresh cycle, with only 30 per cent of UK companies sticking to a designated timetable. For those whose upgrades went by the wayside, the economic climate was the most common reason. Whilst business in the UK were slow to hit targets, France and Germany were more successful, with over half of German companies meeting their deadlines.

Computer failure, file corruption and data loss, caused by the ‘past-it PCs’ have a significant effect on employee productivity. 40 per cent of employees surveyed found work efficiency compromised with a quarter stating it ‘significantly ‘impacted their work.

The research also exposed a trend for employees faced with ‘past-it PCs’ to take matters into their own hands, deliberately and irreparably damaging or destroying phones and laptops. 13 per cent of the UK workforce considered this the fastest route to replacement devices. On the continent, the French are the most likely to choose this option with over a quarter believing that damaging something ‘accidentally on purpose’ is the simplest and most efficient way to secure new computers and phones.

But these trends vary by sector as well as by country. Retailers in Europe are most likely to have maintained a predefined three-year refresh cycle, indicating their commitment to implementing state-of-the-heart technology to innovate out of the recession.

Is your PC past it?

Methodology

In 2011, Mozy surveyed 600 IT managers and 3,000 employees across the UK, France and Germany regarding the use of technology and data within their organisations.

The survey was conducted independently by Vanson Bourne on behalf of Mozy, the world's most trusted provider of online backup solutions.

Click here to learn more about how to protect your data.