Small businesses are always watching their budgets. Staying in business means every dime you spend must provide the value of a quarter. Staying competitive means you need to focus every investment for maximum value. For SMBs, the struggle to have great technology is real, and IT is usually the last expense considered. What most SMBs don’t realize, however, is that falling behind in technology can cost much more than staying current.

How Much Does Outdated IT Cost?

Understanding the cost of old technology means understanding total cost of ownership (TOC). Gartner defines it as “a comprehensive assessment,” over time. For SMBs, this means everything

Outdated technology and IT capabilities can cost SMBs both money and customer confidence.

from acquisition and deployment to maintenance and support and even training or the cost of downtime. How does that impact you?

The loudest message there is that the cost of your IT is more than just what you spend to keep it running. Not that those costs are unimportant. In fact, Cetan Corp released the results of 2015 study found the cost of outdated tech can add up. For example, supporting a PC loaded with Windows XP could cost your organization $780 per year, and that’s before you take into consideration lost down time or slow computing processes. In contrast, the maintenance costs of a new PC are closer to $168 per year.

If the older technology you’re using needs repair, you can expect that $780 per year to increase dramatically. The average cost for a technician to come to your location and repair your technology starts around $40-$75 an hour, and single repair estimates average around $400-$500 for each instance.

The Real IT Expense for SMBs

The monetary costs of outdated IT are just a crack in the dam. Where you see money really start to flow over that dam is when you look at the IT costs that are less measurable. According to Microsoft, the greatest cost to your organization is in trust: 90 percent of consumers indicated they might take their business elsewhere if they suspect an SMB is using outdated technology.

Then there are other statistics that point toward the increasing costs of older technology:

  • Technology that’s over 4 years old experiences an average of 21 hours downtime.
  • PCs that are over 3 years old are 28 percent more susceptible to viruses, and laptops of the same age are 58 percent more susceptible.
  • SMBs lose 42 productive hours per year to slow and outdated technology.
  • 40 percent of cyberattacks happen because of vulnerabilities patches released 2-4 years ago, but those patches were never installed.
  • The indirect costs of outdated technology can be as much as 51 percent of an SMBs technology budget.

All those statistics equate to lost revenues for SMBs, but it’s the intangible losses—reputation damage and lost confidence, lost competitive advantage, compromised compliance, decreased sales, and barriers to success—which really cost a business.

So how do you know if your IT is holding you back? It’s as simple as one question:

How does your existing technology align with your business goals, increase your efficiency, and make you more competitive?

If your response to any part of that question is no, then it’s time to update your existing IT.