All businesses must be prepared to deal with any unforeseen circumstances that could disrupt operations and derail their goals. One often unforeseen method for doing this is keeping an extra workstation on-hand, just in case a worker needs to use it. By doing so, you can prevent downtime and improve the way your business handles maintenance.

This is actually a common recommendation that can be seen in most business continuity plans. The general idea is that you have a terminal ready to use at any given moment, like when an employee’s regular workstation is undergoing maintenance or is out of commission from a hardware failure. After all, if they can’t work, they’ll just be standing around and wasting time, along with your payroll.

Consider, for a moment, how much money is lost from downtime. First, you have to fix the workstation. Then, add in the amount of time that the employee wasted by not working. Both of these problems can immediately be fixed if you have an extra workstation in your office somewhere. Keep in mind that your spare PC doesn’t have to be a brand-new machine with impressive specs and all of the bells and whistles. All you need is a basic computer that has enough resources to run your mission-critical applications.

Plus, obtaining a spare PC for your business doesn’t have to be difficult. Chances are that, if yours is a growing company, you’ll be experiencing plenty of hardware refreshes over the next few months. In this case, there’s no point in getting rid of a completely functional workstation. Instead, you can keep it on-site in the event of an emergency, as long as it’s in proper working order.

However, if you’re a small startup, you may not have the luxury of regular hardware refreshes. You’ll probably have to purchase a new computer just to have an extra one on-hand. In cases like this, we again want to reiterate that you don’t need to purchase anything high-end. All you need is a spare PC.

While you’re switching out workstations, we want to remind you that it’s generally a best practice to store all of your work-related files and applications over a company server or cloud infrastructure. This helps you keep all of your information in one place, and can help to keep a project moving forward. All you’ll need to do is unplug one computer and swap it with the new one. The idea is to minimize the data that’s stored locally on your computer; that way, you don’t have to worry about an untimely hardware failure wiping out your data. All you’ll need is something like a thin client, which can access data and applications stored on your network, and is much more affordable than a full-fledged workstation.

On the other end of the spectrum you have BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device. This trend can let your employees bring their own devices to the office for use on your company network. However, it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t let these devices run wild on your network. Be sure to secure them with a BYOD policy and a mobile device management system. For the employees who might not have a laptop that they can work on, it’s still a good idea to keep a spare PC around.

So, are you going to keep a spare PC on-hand, just in case of the worst? Or, are you having trouble accumulating capital to purchase one? Contact Iron Edge, and we’ll help you weigh your options.