While digitisation and automation have helped small and medium businesses (SMBs) to a great extent, three in 10 SMBs still use old-generation personal computers (PCs) putting them at increased cyber risks and massive productivity loss, a joint Microsoft and Intel study said on Thursday.
According to the research by SMB and mid-market research firm Techaisle commissioned by Microsoft and Intel, PCs which are older than four years significantly increases maintenance costs of up to $1,279 (over Rs 90,000) per device -- enough to replace the ageing hardware with three or more new PCs.
India is home to more than 51 million SMBs, which have a workforce of over 114 million and contribute over 30 per cent to India's GDP. It constitutes 95 per cent of the enterprises in the country.
"If this segment becomes productive and profitable, they will truly create and craft a way for a GDP transformation in the country," Priyadarshi Mohapatra, Country General Manager-Consumer & Devices Sales, Microsoft India, told IANS.
The study surveyed 556 SMBs in 21 cities in India.
For most SMBs, "PCs are the productive engines... where organisations rely heavily on their devices for their day-to-day tasks," Mohapratra added.
More than 61 per cent of PCs used in SMBs in India are still on older versions of Windows, said the study.
The research showed that 43 per cent of SMBs have experienced PC security and data theft breaches in 2018 but only 12 per cent of them actually reported these attacks, while others refrained.
"With changing technology, hackers are always two steps in advance. Besides enabling modern workplace, the new devices prove a secured and productive computing experience to SMBs," noted Rahul Malhotra, Director-Retail, Intel India.
The new PCs can support complex tasks and enable expansion, as well as "improve efficiency powered by cloud and mobility solutions, provide better security and data protection and importantly reduce overall maintenance costs", Malhotra added.
SMBs who embraced a modern workplace strategy have experienced better productivity, reduced costs, and enhanced security.
Adopting newer PCs reduced overall maintenance costs for 58 per cent of SMBs, while employees at 41 per cent of SMBs felt more productive.
The study, that surveyed 2,156 SMBs across India, Australia, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea, establishes a direct cost implication for SMBs from loss in productivity and security risks resulting from outdated devices.
The study highlighted that SMBs are looking at IT as a response to address their business issues. The top IT priorities included investing in mobility as well as cloud solutions and managed services.