With budget cuts sweeping the nation, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for education providers to keep up to date with the latest technology. Money may be thought better spent in different areas, that are possibly seen as a bigger requirement or a better investment, because after all brand-new computers aren’t always affordable.
What we’re starting to see is a big trend towards refurbished devices, as more and more organisations opt to spend their reduced budgets on purchasing reconditioned hardware instead.
But that’s not always as easy as it seems. The term ‘refurb’ is often associated with a number of negative connotations or misconceptions and as such many organisations steer away from purchasing such devices because of it’s so called ‘reputation’.
Now, I’m not saying that this might not have been the case 10 or 20 years ago – but with technological advancements and changes to legislation with GDPR, refurb today doesn’t necessarily mean ‘tat’.
With that in mind, we take a look at some of the most common misconceptions around refurb and reveal how much truth there actually is behind it.
- The hardware will still have someone else’s data on there
Many organisations are wary of buying refurbished devices, due to the worry that there will be existing or harmful data on them. Whilst this is a genuine concern, and one you can’t always guarantee in regards to equipment being wiped – this isn’t necessarily true.
One top tip to consider is to make sure when you’re looking to buy refurbished technology, that you pick an IT asset disposal provider who uses data wiping software – such as Blancco to securely erase data bearing assets from the equipment.
As trusted companies generally do this as standard practice, you can rest assured that your users won’t stumble across unwanted data. Data protection issues aren’t something to be taken lightly – especially when you consider the implications and/or fines you could face by not practising data protection correctly.
Another accreditation to look out for is ADISA. An ADISA accredited organisation will have had to conform to standards such as responsible IT asset disposal, meaning that as a buyer you can be sure that these organisations have been deemed trustworthy to handle refurbished technology.
Finally, one of the most important things to consider when buying refurbished devices for your organisation is, are your providers GDPR compliant? Buying reconditioned devices from a GDPR compliant partner will leave you safe in the knowledge that they’ve adhered to strict data protection guidelines, meaning the refurbished equipment will be completely clear of any previous personal data.
- Older kit means poor performance and issues
This is most definitely not true!
In most cases, refurbishers will ensure any issues with a device are fixed, tested and finally certified before they are made available to you and me.
Alongside this, refurbished devices can potentially deliver levels of performance that don’t fall from that of new devices. In fact, many refurbished devices will be subjected to more intense testing than that of a new product, I bet you didn’t know that, did you?
Just a little bit of research into refurbished tech will reveal to you that most pre-loved devices will come back to a supplier in a generally good working condition. These products will almost always have more life left in them despite what you may have been led to believe. This is mainly due to customers returning products for minor defects or cosmetic issues.
Following a short visit to a refurbisher, minor tune up’s as well as a good old shine and polish will sort any of these issues out, bringing them up to a standard that’s fit for purpose.
Another thing for you to consider here is, what will you be using the device for? It may be true that a brand-new computer will come with the latest configurations such as increased number of cores in the processor, additional graphic cards, bigger RAM.
You must ask yourself then, just how many people use a device to its full capabilities? The answer is not that many! Statistics tell us that most people will in fact use their devices for checking email, developing documents, or running various low requirement programmes.
With all of this in mind, whilst the kit may be older, the performance that the devices can still provide is more than satisfactory for most user’s needs.
My advice to you?
Review what you will be using your devices for, and buy accordingly. If the demands of your workload tend to require low computing power, there’s probably no need for you to go out and buy yourself a computer that will fly a rocket to Mars!
- Old kit means old software
Many people hold the common misconception that you need to buy a brand-new device to get all the latest hardware and software.
You’ll find, however, that in some cases distributers can install all of the latest software onto a device that may be three, four, or even five years old. Plus, as an added bonus, it’ll probably be slightly cheaper than the original retail costs, you certainly can’t argue with that!
The clear and direct advantage here is that you’ll be able to purchase even more devices for half the price (in some instances) of those newer devices, despite both having similar specifications and capabilities.
Let me ask you a question, would you rather be able to kit out one classroom with brand new tech, or be able to kit out two classrooms with refurbished tech that has similar specifications?
Don’t forget about making sure you’re buying tech in line with your needs either! Do your students need that brand-new tech to carry out their day to day learning activities, or will refurbished tech be able to sufficiently carry out the functions that they’ll need?
Here’s an example for you:
You might currently be running a range of 7-year-old PCs across your IT estate that are using Windows 7, but are seriously outdated. Yet you don’t have the budgeting capacities to upgrade to brand new devices or even the latest operating system. By purchasing a range of affordable refurbished devices, that may let’s say be 3 years old, you’ll have access to all the latest software such as Windows 10 for example, whilst also having improved computing power and at a significantly lower cost.
- Shabby appearance
You’ll have to travel a long way to find someone who wants to spend their money on something for it to turn up in a poor and shabby condition.
But this is often a common thought amongst people when they think of refurbished tech. They picture a screen being held together with tape or a mouse that has been shoddily repaired.
There really isn’t much truth behind this myth. When it comes to refurbished devices, you’ll find that in most cases, they’ll actually be as good as new. It’s generally standard practice for a refurbisher to, well – refurbish devices and reinstate them to a resalable standard. That means that they’ll clean devices of any scratches and scuffs, alongside repairing any damage that has been sustained.
In some instances, reconditioned devices may even come with brand-new accessories such as a keyboard and mouse too. From a health and safety point of view – this is definitely one to look out for – especially given that they can harbour more bacteria than a toilet!! Shocking I know. Just in case you’re interested – here’s some more gruesome facts about old keyboards!
- Reliability and breakdown
Finally, one of the biggest worries many people associate with reconditioned devices is the reliability. This is of course an understandable worry. After all, who wants to invest in school PCs with the fear that it only has a lifespan of a few weeks? Nobody, I think.
The big thing to consider here is that any reputable company wouldn’t want to supply you with devices that are likely to break down, after all, it would be their reputation on the line.
In order to avoid this, not only will a supplier do their best to make sure that their devices are in good working order, but will also often offer warranties that will cover the device for a period of time.
Linking this misconception with that of old devices meaning poor performance, it’s important to remember that more often than not, refurbished devices tend to always have more life left in them than anyone would believe.
Acknowledging the fact that I may sound like a squawking parrot, the best piece of advice I can offer is doing your research! Suppliers will not be quiet about the quality of their refurbishment processes, or their warranty, so if the quality is there, you’ll find it.
So, there you have it. All of those common misconceptions you had around refurb, well and truly dismissed! If there’s one thing that you take away from reading this, it’s that refurb is most certainly not a bad thing.
Despite what you may well read or see, reconditioned devices are one of the greatest ways for you to stay on top of the technology curve, whilst providing your students/users with tech that not only works effectively but that doesn’t drain your funding resources either.
Have these misconceptions left you wanting to learn more about incorporating refurbished devices into your school? The University of Portsmouth’s commitment to a low carbon future, expertly puts the concept of an effective device refurbishment project into action.