With the market being flooded with some many difference makes, brand, labels and specifications of laptop, how do you find the right laptop for your business use?
The first thing to know is that not all laptops were made equal so don’t base your laptop choice of business laptop solely on price.
Second, as a business, you MUST have a Windows Professional licence, I’ll go into the various Windows editions later but once you have selected Windows Professional, the range of choices for business laptops will narrow considerably.
In order to protect your business against possible legal action, you should take note of the software licencing guide lines on the Federation Against Software Theft site
It’s not just the fact that a laptop for business use will have a copy of Windows Professional on it, but laptops designed for business use are built from higher grade materials and by their very nature are more robust than a consumer grade laptop.
Most consumers will use their laptop lightly in comparison to a business laptop user. Most days will see a consumer laptop being used for perhaps two hours in the evening where as a business laptop is designed to be used for eight plus hours a day!
If you elect to use a consumer laptop in a normal business setting, the signs of wear will quickly become apparent.
Subtle differences in the design and the engineering of a business laptop verses a consumer laptop mean that in most cases (there will always be exceptions) a business laptop will have better cooling, more connectivity options, better upgrade options plus the laptop will have been designed to be service or repaired.
We are seeing a trend in the design of consumer laptops, plus the distinct lack of replacement parts, that consumer laptops are suffering from ‘built in obsolescence’ whereas parts and spares for business laptops are far more readily available.
No laptop, unless it is properly ruggedized, will survive rough or “hashy” treatment but a business grade laptop will have a greater chance of survival.
For a variety of reasons, including security, it is common practice for business laptops NOT to have a webcam built in. If you use Skype or another form of video conferencing software, finding a laptop that is business grade, with a webcam and Windows professional might be a challenge.
Business Security considerations must be given a high priority. For those of you who have an IT department, they will advise you on what they want and will in all probability take care of the setup and security of the laptop.
The majority of small businesses do not have a dedicated in-house IT expert but they may use a something similar to our Business Managed IT Service, but for those of you who don’t, please DO NOT use a free anti-virus or internet security solution.
You must take all ‘reasonable’ steps to protect your systems, data, customer information etc from unauthorised access. Remember that not all the threats are external. A disgruntled employee could cause major damage to your company, its brand and most importantly your client’s trust in you.
The Information Commissioners Office provides some very clear guidelines on computer data security
How would you feel if your bank or other organisation that stored some of your personal details was using a free anti-virus solution? Probably not very happy so neither should you.
Business laptops, being mobile devices, are much more likely to be lost, damaged or stolen so special consideration must be given to data security and protection. It is vital that the data from the business laptop is backed up regularly. You need to consider the number of person hours that it would take to recreate the data stored on the laptop, should it suffer a calamity. Our cloud back solution for business automatically runs automatically every hour, irrespective of connection method and is fully encrypted.
For any of our business that clients that use laptops, we insist that the laptops are protected by a ‘hard password’ and where the laptop is used for sensitive data, that it is encrypted.
If you work in a regulated profession such as legal or IFA, then your Compliance Officer will be able to advise you.
Use your business laptop to give presentations (please no death by Power Point) then screen size and the ability to connect to a projector should be factored into your choice of business laptop.
Most laptops have 15.4 or 15.6” screens but some business laptops utilise 14” or smaller screens to assist portability. If you use a projector, then screen size is not so much of an issue. Remember that you always have the option of connecting to a secondary monitor via the VGA port or in some cases a smart TV, if your business laptop has an HDMI port.
Battery life and battery care should also come into the business laptop purchasing equation. The best way to maintain the battery life and its ability to deliver performance when required is to remove it from the laptop.
Honestly, we are not mad! It’s the constant trickle charge that, over time, kills the battery in a laptop. If, like the majority of business laptop users, you are always within reach of mains electricity, take the battery out of the laptop.
This simple step will keep the laptop battery in top condition (as it not been constantly trickle charged) then just pop it in when you know you’ll need battery power.
In the world of electronics, you largely get what you pay for so don’t be tempted by price. Consider the IT business needs of the user and their role when selecting which business laptop to purchase.
Over the years of providing business IT support services in Perthshire and beyond, we have worked with and on many different brands, models and makes of business laptops.
As an example of a good business laptop, we would have no hesitation in citing this Lenovo T410 i7 laptop.
As it has a 480GB SSD its fast and it has plenty of storage plus as an SSD has no moving parts (unlike a normal hard drive) its far better suited to a nomadic life.
The physical construction of the T410 is solid and is well engineered. The screws used are of high quality and will cope with multiple accesses to facilitate repairs and upgrades thus adding to the life span of the laptop.
This business laptop benefits from a good amount of RAM and it’s i7 processor will be able to cope with most CPU intensive applications.
Don’t be tempted by the aggressive price point offered on some consumer laptops. The build quality on a consumer grade laptop is simply not the same as a business laptop. Business laptops are designed to be used eight plus hours a day whereas most consumer units are probably used for perhaps two hours a day and even then not every day.By investing in quality business grade laptops and IT equipment, you will save a considerable amount of money and downtime that would otherwise be lost by computer down time