How To Choose a Secure Work Computer for Your SMB

Esme_Lee
edited August 2023 in Business

In today's fast-paced, competitive world of commerce, businesses often find themselves working harder than ever. As such, not only are businesses desiring stronger, more durable hardware with impressive lifespans and software that is more reliable, but they are also placing an increasing importance on the security of their PCs.

What are ‘business-secure’ PCs? 

Compared with a PC for personal, leisurely use, business laptops are often designed to handle more complex tasks. While many laptops can be easily adapted for work, not every device can be labeled as a business-secure device.

Business-secure PCs are devices that come with extra layers of security in terms of both their hardware and software. Internally secure, impressively durable, and highly functional, business-secure PCs are essentially designed to survive the hustle and bustle of the workplace. With the increasing need for hardware security, durability, video conferencing, hardware encryption, and biometric authentication in the workplace, not every work computer can meet the office's needs. Therefore, choosing a secure, functional, and reliable business laptop is a crucial matter for your business.

The need for business-secure PCs

It is usually the responsibility of the business to provide devices for employees in the workplace. There are several reasons why businesses should provide employees with not just work laptops, but business-secure PCs. Consider the following reasons: 

1) They have enhanced cyber security

It isn’t difficult to imagine how business PCs can significantly enhance a company’s sense of cyber security. If all employees were to perform work tasks in the office with their own, personal laptops, there would rightfully be a concern over potential data breaches. Additionally, with business-secure PCs, companies will have more control over what can or cannot be installed on the company’s computers, thus reducing the risk of virus attacks and other potential forms of cyber threats.

Elevated cyber security is particularly key for small-to-medium businesses (SMBs). With a wide sampling of small businesses in a 2017 study, the Ponemon Institute revealed a 50% increase in SMBs reporting data privacy concerns over the course of just one year. Another study by Cisco in 2018 discovered that more than half (53%) of SMBs had had the unpleasant experience of a company data breach. When faced with potential cybercriminal activity, it is often particularly stressful for SMBs as they may not always have sufficient resources or knowledge to deal with such problems effectively. 

2) They can store and manage your data efficiently

Data is arguably the most important asset in a company. Secure business computers are ones that can store and manage your data safely and effectively and usually have sufficient amounts of RAM and SSD storage for you to start with (see section below). Business-secure PCs should also pair efficiently with data management solutions. Microsoft OneDrive, for instance, is an updated, highly-secure tool that can help safeguard company data; it can also adapt as a company grows or shrinks in size. 

3) They adapt well to current work trends 

With more and more businesses changing work modes (e.g., hybrid working, migrating data to the cloud), devices should also adapt to what the workplace demands. Laptops should, for example, allow efficient cloud computing or have features that enhance the videoconferencing experience. In addition, everyone loves a lightweight computer, especially in the present day where travel has become an increasingly common thing to do in the workplace. 

Specific types of features to look for in a business-secure PC

There are multiple features that a device can possess to be labeled as 'business-secure.' These include (but are not limited to) the following:

1) Enough storage space and RAM

RAM is key in deciding how well computers can function and perform basic work tasks, such as browsing  the Internet, running applications, and working on documents. For most office work, such as Internet browsing and document writing, 8GB of RAM should be sufficient. A secure business computer also carries enough storage space for whatever files and applications are needed for the office. For data transfer to happen as effectively as possible, a secure business PC should use SSD storage instead of the traditionally used HDD. SSD storage is more desirable because, unlike HDDs which use mechanical parts, SSDs utilize flash memory and have no moving parts, being less energy-consuming. Approximately  256GB to 512GB of SSD storage should be sufficient to operate in most offices, although this would also depend on the industry.

2) Hardware-based anti-theft technologies

Device theft has consistently been a societal issue. Hardware-based anti-theft technology has been refined to alert owners when a device may be at risk of theft, track a device when it goes missing, or immobilize a device when it's unlawfully taken by someone other than the owner. On a firmware level, for instance, Windows secured-core PC is engineered with hardware security features, so as to protect user credentials at all times.  Such features can systematically address the many forms of cyberattacks that 86% of small and medium businesses with outdated software are exposed to. Other security baselines, such as virtualization-based security and memory integrity are also relevant when it comes to warding off malicious attacks. 

3) Voice control, fingerprint, or face reader

With the integration of biometrics into technology, the security of hardware devices has significantly improved. This is an upgrade from previous password-based technology, where a simple leak of a password could facilitate unauthorized logins. For instance, Windows Hello is a secure and highly personalized method for accessing one's Windows 11 devices using either facial recognition or fingerprints.

4) Hardware Security Module (HSM)

HSMs are computing devices that efficiently safeguard sensitive information, such as digital keys. They are also capable of performing a variety of encryption and decryption functions. Additionally, camera shutters and privacy panels can be an excellent feature for business-secure PCs, as they obstruct side angle-viewing. This leads to peace of mind that a company’s sensitive information will not be accidentally seen by unauthorized people during conferences or in public.

5) A powerful CPU and GPU 

When choosing a secure business laptop, the CPU (short for central processing unit) is a key element to keep in mind. It can be thought of as the brain of a computer, as it executes instructions for a device’s arithmetic, logic, and input or output operations. It gives a computer the power to do its work, and the stronger a CPU is, the more effectively a device can function. CPUs can be evaluated in terms of their speed, measured in GHz. For typical office work, 3.5 GHz can do a perfect job of running key software applications. For audiovisual or design-heavy industries, such as film editing or 3D rendering, up to 4.0 GHz would be ideal for better work efficacy.

Also relevant are GPUs–specially designed electronic circuits that can manipulate memory with the objective of accelerating the creation of images in a frame buffer intended for output to a display device. GPUs are seen in workstations, game consoles, mobile phones, computers, and many embedded systems (i.e., a combination of hardware and software designed to perform specific functions).

6) Good connectivity 

If you’ve noticed how some devices seem to connect better to wifi than others, it’s not an illusion. Certain devices, especially if they come with more updated antennas, do connect more efficiently. Business secure PCs come with better connectivity, which entails faster, more reliable Wifi 6E connectivity along with stronger 5G broadband connection. Hardware-wise, connectivity also implies better connection between I/O ports and peripherals (such as your computer mice, keyboards, monitors, and printers). 

7) Long-lasting, quick-charging batteries

With employees spending a significant portion of their lives in the office, it is only fair that they are provided with business laptops that can smoothly power through the day. Laptops with effective, quick-charging batteries are essential, as they allow employees to move around the office (or around meetings in the city) in a carefree manner. Such power-efficient batteries allow employees to work with a peace of mind without having to tend to inconvenient device-charging throughout the day. 

8) Ability to withstand accidents, spills, and other types of climates

Accidents happen in the workplace, no matter how hard one tries to avoid them. Whether it be spills, drops, or natural disasters, a secure business computer can handle them all. Secure business devices can also adapt well to sudden changes such as sand, dust, humidity, and temperature shocks, so you wouldn't have to worry if your next business meeting were near the Sahara Desert or freezing Alaska.

Undecided? The Acer TravelMate Series Can Help Your SMB Thrive

While businesses may have slightly different criteria for what a business-secure device looks like, some computers are simply more thoughtfully designed than others. If you’re still browsing page after page of computer models for your SMB, look no further. The Acer TravelMate Series carries the potential to help your business thrive to the fullest. Here’s why:

It has robust security features

Acer TravelMate series features a solid example of a robust security login system. With IR facial recognition or power-on fingerprint readers, each device can only be logged into by the employee assigned to it. Taking a short bathroom or coffee break? Select models can utilize sensing technology to lock the device’s screen while the user is away, so employees will never have to worry about their files being touched while on a short break. 

Reliable and durable, after extremely rigorous quality testing

In a busy office where things can get hectic, accidents with electronic devices can occur. Whether it's coffee spills on a keyboard or a colleague tripping over your charging cable causing your laptop to fall, these scenarios are not at all unrealistic in the workplace. Acer’s TravelMate series has been carefully designed to meet the MIL-STD-810H standards for impressive reliability and durability. 

It is well-equipped for everything you can imagine about hybrid or remote work

Flooded with video conferences on your schedule? The TravelMate series is designed to ensure that your conferencing goes absolutely smoothly. With significantly improved webcams and enhanced voice capture powered by AI-driven noise reduction, and upward-facing speakers featuring DTS® Audio, you can effortlessly increase the efficiency of your virtual meetings while enjoying greater peace of mind regarding your privacy.

Do you often commute between home, the office, and other meeting locations? Engineered to weigh only around 1.6 kg and slimmed down to a remarkable thickness of just 20 mm, TravelMate devices literally lighten your load, making those long days easier to handle.

Excellence, lined up for your choosing

Choosing PCs for your business can be a stressful experience, especially since there are a wide range of elements to factor in. Versatile, adaptable, and thoughtfully engineered to serve your business needs, For its multi-functionality and the quality of its features, Acer’s TravelMate series is highly affordable, making it an optimal choice for small businesses.  Get the reliability and sense of security you deserve with your work devices today by exploring Acer’s TravelMate family.

Esme Lee is a science writer and editor in the UK, carrying a passion for tech copywriting. She has a background in educational neuroscience and holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge.

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