Is Your Technology Slowing You Down?

How long has it been since you bought a new laptop or smartphone? Upgraded your Windows or Mac operating system software? Switched to a new, better web browser? If you’re like Michael Phelps in the Intel TV commercial – and the tech tools of your trade are more than two to three years old – then your technology is slowing you down.

At Tech Helpline, the real estate industry’s number one tech support service, we tapped the brainpower of our tech analysts to shed some light on this topic. They work with real estate agents every day and have a combined IT experience of nearly 300 years.

Here are the three big reasons you need to upgrade – and update – your technology.

Speed

Have you ever heard of the phrase Moore’s Law? A simplified version of this law states that processor speeds, or overall processing power for computers, doubles every two years. So if your laptop is just a couple of years old, it likely has half the processing power of a new one. What if it’s five years old? It would be like owning a horse today as your primary transportation, which has a top speed of about 25 mph, when you could have a car that goes over 100 mph… so at least you could go the speed limit.

Seriously, today’s computers and smartphones are wickedly fast and make older ones seem nearly unusable. For example, the iPhone 7 processor is 40 percent faster than the iPhone 6 processor. With your old laptop, it’s probably collected many excess files and programs that are slowing it down.

Plus, you get better features with newer technology. Did you know that an iPhone 7 has four times the storage of an iPhone 5, and can take pictures with a resolution that is six times better? With a new laptop, you’ll increase your speed and that should mean an increase in efficiency. Most importantly, a new laptop – with a speedier processor, significantly more storage, the latest operating system and best browsers all pre-installed – will likely cost you less than half of what you paid for your old laptop.

Security

This is a huge reason to upgrade and update: it will better protect your and your customers’ sensitive data. You probably have seen the news reports showing how scammers and hackers are targeting the real estate industry. The deceptions range from email scams that try to steer earnest money to a scammer’s bank account, to Trojan files that takeover your computer without you ever knowing it. Hackers can record and capture your keystrokes. Real estate agents with older laptops, out-of-date operating systems, who use older versions of web browsers, are putting their own data and their clients’ data at a greater risk.

“You can increase your security and the safety of your files,” recommend Tech Helpline experts, “by making sure you stay current with updates for both your device and your browser.” For example, did you know that Microsoft has discontinued older versions of Internet Explorer? Or that Internet Explorer 11 is being replaced with Microsoft Edge? In fact, Windows XP and every earlier version of the Windows OS are no longer supported. Even support for Windows Vista ends next month, April 11. That means no more security updates for known flaws – and that’s potentially very dangerous in today’s world.

Buying newer tech tools – and keeping them updated – more than pay for themselves by avoiding the costly and time consuming result of a hacker’s strike. Plus, there’s the potential for a nice tax break when you buy new tech equipment for your business. This is one place where the ROI – or return on your investment – is solid. But this also provides a great ROS – a better return on sleep – knowing you’ve done your best to protect yourself and your clients.

Streamline

How many apps do you have on your smartphone? Now how many of those apps have you used in the last six months? One of the great things about upgrading to a new laptop or a new smartphone is the opportunity to clean house. It’s a little like moving to a new home – it’s better to toss what you don’t use than pay extra to take it with you; you’re forced to get rid of unused items. The same is true when you transition to a newer tech tool: it’s the best time to streamline.

When you get a new device, it’s a great time to remove never-used programs and apps, which could be running in the background and sucking up processing power; get rid of “bloatware” – programs you really don’t need and are a waste of space on your hard drive.

If it’s been a long time since you changed web browsers, you probably struggled to get your bookmarks and settings imported correctly. But today, the process of moving to a faster, safer browser is more streamlined, fully automated and largely friction free.

Streamlining your technology will make your tech tools both faster and safer. And the really good news: it’s easier to upgrade and to update than ever before. If you are hesitating on upgrading or updating because the last time you went through the process, it was a nightmare, you are not alone. But the hardware isn’t the only thing that’s gotten better, so has the software, and making the transition is better than ever. Plus, Tech Helpline, for the majority of agents, is only a call away.