Securing Mobile Devices

Should you ditch your desktop?

Desktops have supported your business and workforce for years. But with new developments (wireless docking) and new form factors (Ultrabooks, detachables, tablets), desktops are now just one of a number of viable options for businesses looking to replace their aging fleet and/or upgrade their existing capabilities. So the question is: desktops or mobile devices? Here are four questions to help you make the right decision for your needs.

1. Do you need to upgrade your PCs soon?
While it’s nice to think ahead, you probably don’t want to replace your desktops while they’re still performing well and meeting your needs. As a general guide, large enterprises refresh their PCs once every three years on average,1 while small businesses hold on to their PCs for five to seven years on average.2

Answer yes if:

  • Your desktops are taking longer and longer to start up or complete complex tasks
  • You’re holding off on upgrading an important piece of software because you’re concerned your desktops can’t handle it
  • You’re spending more than you’d like on annual PC maintenance

Answer no if:

  • Your desktops are performing as expected
  • Employees have the tools and performance they need to function without unnecessary delays

2. Does mobility fit into your budget?
Portability is a premium feature built into the price of all mobile devices. In general, the smaller or thinner a device, the more you’ll have to pay for the same performance as a comparable desktop. Although, some business-grade mobile devices do start at affordable price points (HP Elite notebook PCs start in the mid $700s).

Answer yes if:

  • You want to consolidate your existing technology into a single device, such as a detachable (notebook + tablet)
  • You’re willing to spend more upfront to ensure your PCs meet or exceed your needs for their entire lifecycle (3 to 7 years)—without the need for upgrades later

Answer no if:

  • You’re on a tight budget
  • You don’t currently require multiple PC devices per employee
  • You’d rather spend less upfront and upgrade your PCs as your business needs evolve, such as with new graphics cards or processors

3. Is your workforce mobile?
No surprise here, but the chief benefit of mobile PCs is that they’re mobile. You can take them wherever you need for easy working—on the road, at home, and around the office. Plus, if you’re able to invest in peripherals like extra monitors and docking stations, you can easily replicate the ease-of-use and productivity benefits of a desktop setup.

Answer yes if:

  • Employees need (or prefer) to bring PCs to meetings or presentations
  • They need to travel for work on a regular basis
  • They’ve specifically requested to work using notebooks or tablets
  • You’re willing to invest in desktop peripherals

Answer no if:

  • Employees primarily work at their desks
  • They are rarely required to work outside the office

4. Is your business security optimized for mobile devices?
Cyber criminals are increasingly targeting small businesses, where security is often easier to crack than at multi-national corporations. Mobile devices—which can easily be lost or stolen—require additional security versus a traditional desktop setup in order to protect your sensitive information.

Answer yes if:

  • Employees undergo regular security training
  • You have—or plan to purchase—a system that enables remote device management
  • Employees can access files remotely via a secure cloud server

Answer no if:

  • Employees consistently skirt existing security requirements and systems
  • Employees can only access business documents on-site due to technical and/or contractual limitations
  • A large number of employees regularly handle sensitive information

Note: If employees regularly require access to sensitive information outside of the office, it’s worth the investment to provide a secure, mobile solution for them to use.

And your result is…
3+ yes: Upgrading to mobile devices makes a lot of sense for your business. Go for it!
2 yes: You’re on the fence. While upgrading to mobile devices wouldn’t hinder your business, the cost might outweigh the benefits.
0-1 yes: Stick with desktops.


[1] Intel, How much is it costing your business to run old PCs?, 2014
[2] The Legislative Budget Board, Review of Replacement Schedules for Information Technology Equipment, 2013

used with permission from HP Technology at Work



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