You know how the old saying goes: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. But this ideal should never be applied if you’re experiencing slow boot speeds, loud fans, or consistent “spinning wheels of death” syndrome with your computer. In fact, these should be recognized as signs your hardware is aging and potential issues are on the horizon if you don’t act quickly. Not only will outdated hardware cause a lot of frustration and headache, but it poses some large risks. For small businesses, in particular, these 3 risks could be detrimental. And may make you rethink putting up with those aging signs.
1. Security Risks with Outdated Hardware
According to a report published by IBM in 2020, small businesses with 500 or fewer employees spent an average of $7.68 million to resolve cybersecurity incidents. With threats on the rise in 2021, that cost is only expected to grow while small business leaders remain ill-prepared with 88% reporting they feel they are vulnerable to an attack. It’s no secret that small businesses are an excellent target for hackers, mainly because of a lack of technical expertise. But even with the best technical team in place, they are no match for an attack on old hardware.
Often referred to as legacy systems, old hardware should be replaced every 3-5 years. You may think this is a short timeline. But with technology rapidly advancing, not only is it hard for you as a human to keep up. It’s even harder on your hardware. With the evolving threat landscape, your hardware systems will prompt you to update and patch security vulnerabilities. But it can only go so far with age.
For example, at the beginning of 2020, Windows 7 reached its end of life (EOL). This means that all support and security measures for computers running ceased, leaving countless computers open to hackers. At that same time, it was announced that Windows Server reached its end of support (EOS) and is projected to reach the end of life by 2023. If you’re still using these platforms, now’s the perfect time to plan your refresh to avoid becoming a grim statistic.
2. Legal and Regulatory Compliance
If you are a business that is held to regulatory compliances like GDPR, HIPAA, PCI, SOX or any others, your security risk compounds further with outdated hardware. These standards require your hardware to remain up to date and fully supported. So if you fall victim to a breach, there’s no doubt you’ll face added penalties. The same goes for an audit; if you’re found in violation because your hardware is EOL, you can face further fines on top of having to make the investment to resolve the issue. And with further data compliance regulations like CPA on the horizon in the United States, even if you don’t face any other regulatory compliances, updating your aging hardware can put your small business a step ahead of the game.
3. Agility Against Competition
Arguably the biggest risk of keeping your small business running on outdated hardware is losing your competitive edge against those in your industry who are rapid adopters. By now, you’ve realized that old technology can’t stack up to the latest and greatest. Which can slow your operations and in the event of a breach, could tarnish your reputation for good. This could leave room for your competition to swoop in and steal some of your market share. But this goes even further than just replacing old hardware with new. To maintain your agility you must maintain a proactive approach to all aspects of your technology. While upgrading hardware is a great start, if you’re not also updating your software and applications alongside it, you run the risk of incompatibility, which will only cause further headaches.
So What Can You Do?
For many small business leaders, the thought of upgrading hardware can be overwhelming and costly, which often leads to the need being ignored until it’s too late. While there are several other reasons why small businesses keep legacy systems running, the risks are too great to ignore. We make it seamless for small businesses to fully refresh their hardware with no upfront cost or hidden fees. Plus we add in proactive technology support, planning and more for a low monthly fixed rate. If you need to avoid risks posed by your aging hardware, contact us today for your free assessment.