Innovate September 2017

Reduce Your I.T. Costs With Thin Clients

Written By: Michael Remer

One way to increase your profit margin is by cutting costs — that’s a known fact. In the world of technology costs, most businesses embrace cloud services as a way to lower their costs. Typically, this looks like partnering with a pay-as-you-go service provider and eliminating software that can be replaced with the cloud or software as a service offerings. By swapping your desktop computers for thin clients — or zero clients as they are sometimes called — you can further reduce your operating costs.

What are They?

Thin clients and zero clients are similar. Thin clients are very basic computers with a minimal amount of memory and processing power. They have a stripped-down version of an operating system and rely primarily on a network connection to a more powerful computer to do the majority of computer processes. A zero client works the same way, but the biggest difference is there is no storage at all on the device and often no operating system. When powered on, the device connects to a “host” system automatically, and that’s all.

How Do These Devices Reduce Costs?

Thin clients offer tremendous savings on hardware. Your typical business desktop computer ranges from $700 to $1,100 while thin clients and zero clients can go as low as $90. Since there are no hard drives or other moving parts, these devices typically have longer lifespans than traditional computers.

Reduced Management

By utilizing a server, thin clients can be centrally managed. Instead of having to push updates to dozens of computers, you simply update your server and the update is pushed out to where it needs to go from there. There’s no longer a need to maintain desktop-specific backups, software images or applications. All that information resides on the server either in-house or in the cloud. Setup time and downtime are both reduced, and that leads to increased employee productivity.

Minimized Security Risks

Because thin clients don’t have an operating system in the traditional sense, they are not susceptible to vulnerabilities like desktops are, and that helps you avoid costly malware attacks and data breaches. Thin clients reduce the problem of direct access to data by limiting access to the operating system. This allows for greater control of your company’s data and prevents the intentional or unintentional installation of software that is malicious or otherwise. Furthermore, if a thin client does happen to get damaged or corrupted, you don’t have to worry about data stored on your server.

Going Green

Traditional desktops generate a lot more heat and require a lot more power than thin clients. Thin clients consume 4-6.5 watts of power, which is almost 1/50th of desktop requirements. Additionally, they require little to no cooling, which translates to significant cost savings.







Deploying thin and zero clients is an excellent way to cut costs. With positive impacts on hardware costs, power bills, security risks and management, they are too good to pass up. Check with your IT provider to find out if thin clients could be a good fit for you or to determine the best way to deploy thin clients to your environment.


MICHAEL REMER is founder and president of ComputerCare LLC, an IT services company providing a full spectrum of IT solutions and services to small and medium businesses.

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