Businesses can cut up to 45 percent from their service, maintenance and other bills by making improvements to the way they manage their IT, according to research firm Gartner.

For example, a desktop PC may cost a large company about £600, but after four years, the total cost of ownership (TCO) could be as high as £3,000 per year if not managed effectively, Gartner said.

But, if the company's PCs are locked down and well managed, the cost per PC per year can come down to about £1,700 - a 42 percent saving.

Similarly, a laptop can cost a large enterprise £700, but have a TCO of more than £4,934. But locking down laptops and managing them well could result in 45 percent annual cost savings to £2,508, Gartner said.

"We do not recommend locking down notebooks for workers who work outside the office most of the time," said Gartner's Federica Troni, adding that a moderate degree of management can lower TCO by 24 percent to £3,807.

To derive these figures, Gartner based its calculations on a hypothetical organisation with central IT and 2,500 desktop PCs. The company managed 250 applications.