Computers: Is Consumer Grade Enough For Your Business?

Sep 14, 2012 | Managed Services

Home PC vs Business PCSure, it’s enticing. You’ll save money right now if you run out to your local big box store or hop online and purchase that computer or that combo firewall/wireless router that’s on sale. But is that money saved really worthwhile for your business in the long run?

They say that a penny saved is a penny earned, but when it comes to your businesses technology, that penny saved may cost you a lot more later on down the road.

The main reason is that the majority of equipment sold at the big box stores are for home users and aren’t made for the higher demands of a small business. Think about it—is that combo firewall/wireless router really going to stop a professional hacker from accessing your critical business or customer data, or provide the security to protect your network? It’s not.

Let’s start by taking a look at the most widespread piece of technology throughout any business in the country—the computer.

Business Grade vs. Consumer Grade

You know that computers are now a necessity for any Small to Mid-Sized Business. But there are so many options out there, aren’t they all the same? Do a quick search and you’ll quickly find there are many differences.

Meeting demands

There’s a stark contrast between a business grade computer and a consumer grade computer starting with the way they are built. Most consumer grade computers are mass produced to sell at said big box retailers and are made to operate efficiently for 2 years, if you’re lucky. Most business grade computers are produced on-demand on a much smaller scale and are made to last 3-4 years, at the higher demands that are required.


The support needs and requirements are much different as well. If you have ever tried to connect a home computer (consumer grade) to a business network, you know that it doesn’t work very well. There’s a reason for that—the software (Windows Home versions) on home computers aren’t made to connect with a business network. The same goes for getting support for your home computer through a business technology provider: we can figure it out, but it will take longer and a lot more investment on your part to make that happen.

Horror story time

We recently had a client purchase a computer from a big box retailer that needed to be able to connect to their network. The computer was on sale, so they figured it was a good deal. They were unable to successfully connect the computer to their network, so they called us to figure it out for them. It took one of our engineers about two days’ worth of time to properly configure the computer to work how the client needed it to. In the end, they spent about double what it would have cost to purchase a business grade computer that was already configured to their needs.

These are just a few examples as to why you need to consider the pros and cons of investing in the proper computer for your business. By purchasing a consumer grade computer, you run the risk of needing to replace it much sooner than you should, or needing costly service work down the road to keep it running.

If you aren’t sure what type of computer will work best for your specific business needs, give us a call. One of our consultants will be happy to explain the differences and help you find a computer that will meet your demands.

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