Businesses that fail to keep their hardware updated are exposed to significant risks, from security threats to not being compliant with government regulations. This is not something that has to be done once every few years, either – it must be a constant, ongoing process. 

Information technology is constantly evolving, with newer and better updates coming out more often than you might think. How can outdated hardware affect companies, and what are the implications for current and future operations?

Expired Equipment Warranties

Just like other kinds of office equipment, hardware systems come with warranties that have expiration dates (referred to as end of life or EOL by IT services professionals). If you are not keeping track, now is the time to check those dates and replace anything that is past due for replacement. The longer you keep using expired hardware, the likelier the chances for gaps and incompatibilities that will harm your company. 

It’s been reported that over 70% of companies use expired hardware, and it is a considerable problem that makes finding and addressing problems much more challenging. To locate warranty status, you can look for a serial number or service tag on the computer case or look in the search field by the star tile on the lower left side of the desktop. Type in “about” (without the quotes), and the serial number can be found in the “device name” field. Once you have all your hardware warranty information, check the expiration dates and keep it all organized in one central location; add reminders for expiration dates on your calendar.

A Key Danger of Outdated Hardware

It’s hardly surprising that the most concerning danger of outdated hardware is security breaches. A 2020 IBM report revealed that small companies with 500 or fewer employers shelled out an average of $7.68 million to address and resolve cybersecurity incidents. The number of threats in subsequent years have only increased, and the associated reparation costs are likely to follow suit. Smaller businesses are perfect targets for hackers, and this is because many have little technical capabilities. 

Here is an example of how hardware gets outdated: in early 2020, Windows 7 arrived at its EOL, along with all of the security measures and support for computers that were still running it. This left them wide open for hackers. The Windows Server also reached its end of support (EOS) and may reach its EOL by 2023. Those who are still using these platforms will want to update their hardware before it is too late.

How Else Can Outdated Hardware Impact My Company?

It is not easy to locate replacement parts for EOL equipment, and when you do, the prices can be much higher – compare it to finding an alternator for a 2015 Mustang. Many organizations end up buying used parts that have no warranties, which can increase maintenance costs and system instability. Outdated hardware can cause incompatibilities between devices and software applications, which have to be remediated – this takes time and cuts down on productivity.

Companies that run on outdated hardware lose their edge against their competitors. Competitors can then quickly swoop in and steal market share. To maintain agility and avoid breaches, you need to keep up with the latest updates and stay proactive with all aspects of your IT – this includes updating all of your software and applications as well. Remember, a security breach or significant lag behind your competitors can ruin your reputation for the short- and long-term.

Finally, outdated hardware can be lacking in compliance with standards set by HIPAA, SOX, PCI, GDPR and other industry regulations. These all require companies to have updated, fully supported software. Imagine the added penalties you could face if your systems get breached and are not in line with those regulations; there may be additional U.S. compliance regulations coming down the road as well.

Small businesses are more vulnerable to hackers and these other problems that are related to outdated hardware, and when attacks happen they can be overwhelmed. The technical team at TAG Solutions can update all your systems and provide the maintenance and support you need to face those threats and keep your organization’s IT systems running smoothly and efficiently. 

Call us today for a free consultation, and we will be happy to bring your systems up to 2022 and into the future!