When you’re running a small Tucson business, it can be tempting to use consumer technology to try to save on expenses. But using hardware that’s not designed for business use for your company can have some costly consequences. There is a reason there’s a different class between consumer hardware – computers, printers, Wi-Fi, etc. – and business hardware, and it’s not just to get you to pay more.

Business use of technology is quite different than consumer use, and includes protecting more sensitive data, doing things like processing credit cards and digital payments, and running your IT 40 or more hours per week.

Without managed IT support or using the right technology, you can end up with serious problems, such as:

  • Computers crashing after only a year or two
  • Hardware that can’t keep up the pace you need for productivity
  • Security issues with oversharing of information
  • Lack of proper network security from non-business routers

Before you decide to use that consumer doorbell camera for your supply room or install a residential router rather than business grade, read on for the reasons you need to avoid consumer hardware at your business.

Problems Caused by Using Consumer-Grade Hardware for a Business

Your Network Can Be Less Secure

If you’re just picking up a router off the shelf, a consumer-grade device can look pretty much the same as a business-grade router. But what’s inside can be significantly different.

Residential routers do not have the same security standards used by business-grade routers that need to protect sensitive data of all types.

According to testing by Consumer Reports, it was found that many consumer wireless routers “lack basic security protections.” For example, it found that many of these routers don’t protect against multiple failed login attempts.

Business-grade routers are designed to have enterprise-class security, meaning your network is much better protected.

You Might Be Connecting to Neighbors Without Knowing It

Smart gadgets have been growing in popularity both in homes and offices. Now you can have Alexa enabled devices that help with your scheduling, keep thermostats efficient, and allow you to access business apps via voice.

But… Amazon Alexa IoT devices are largely designed for the consumer market and can have some serious “over sharing” issues that could put your small business at risk of a data breach.

For example, Amazon recently announced a new technology called Sidewalk, which is designed to extend the reach of IoT devices on properties. But what this does is allow devices to use a portion of a neighbor’s Wi-Fi bandwidth to give it more range.

This “neighborhood network” has serious security implications, and added to the mix is that users will be opted in automatically and have to specifically opt out. This type of sharing of a network with others with “bridge” devices nearby, could open the doors to your network to a hacker that is working the Amazon Sidewalk system for nefarious reasons.

Your Hardware May Not Last as Long

If you try to save 35% off a computer by buying a consumer-grade instead of a business PC, you may end up paying more because that home computer might only last half as long.

Business-grade computers are designed with better components because they’re meant to be used daily throughout the workday, where consumer PCs are not built for that type of 8-hour per day use.

You may find that a cheaper consumer computer only lasts a year and a half before it starts to have problems, where a business PC may last at least three to four years without having issues.

You Have Less Warranty Protection with Consumer Hardware

Because of the use of cheaper parts in consumer-grade equipment, you’ll find that the warranty protection is a lot less than when you buy business-grade. This can mean you end up spending more if there’s a problem.

Consumer-grade computers will typically come with a 1-year warranty, where you’ll get three times that when buying a business PC, which typically comes with a 3-year warranty from the manufacturer.

Fewer Integration Options (Compliance, Business Hardware/Software, etc.)

When you use consumer hardware in your office, you’ll find that you have fewer options when it comes to configuring things like HIPAA compliance policies or integration with other business platforms.

Business grade hardware is developed with an understanding of the types of compliance needs that organizations have, so it will be more flexible to fit your needs and give you more options for connections to other systems you may need to use in your workflow.

Keep Your Business Secure & Efficient with Help from ECN IT

We can keep your Tucson business from making costly mistakes when it comes to your technology choices.

We’re here and ready to talk IT security & optimization with you! Reach out at 520-355-7553 or through our website.