“If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” This is one of the most common refrains in the business world, and in many situations it’s the right answer. When it comes to technology, though, such an attitude can represent the potential for danger. Consider a few anecdotes:
In 2016, the WannaCry ransomware attack spread rapidly around the globe due to security vulnerabilities found in older versions of Microsoft Windows that hadn’t yet been patched.
In 2014, hackers broke in to the federal government’s Office of Personnel Management and stole a treasure trove of personally identifiable information — all because the OPM’s computers had out-of-date encryption techniques and administrative log-ins hadn’t yet been subjected to the extra security step of two-factor authentication.
And just last week, cybercriminals announced that the data from 5 million credit cards was swiped from Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor stores across North America. Details are still forthcoming, but it appears this data was accumulated from swipe-card transactions, which upload the full contents of magnetic credit card data to a payment processing terminal instead of relying on newer and more secure chip transactions.
What does all this mean for your business, your hardware, your software, and your future? Below, CMIT Solutions has compiled three things to look for when considering a hardware or software upgrade, along with three ways that vulnerable older systems can represent a threat to your business’ success.
1. If your business is growing, upgraded technology can help.
Rapid or consistent growth often requires a forward-looking approach to technology. As you onboard new employees, add new positions, or even expand to new locations, technology can help you properly scale your business.
2. If your business is struggling with technology, it’s time to take action.
Solving problems and making the workday smoother is what technology should do. Slow computers, a lack of mobile options for your employees, a network that can’t handle growing web traffic, or insufficient storage are all significant barriers to productivity and efficiency.
3. If your company is changing directions, technology can help.
If your employees are getting more work done in the field, new smartphones, laptops and tablets with mobile-ready security options could be the right choice. If you need to provide better customer service, enhanced communication options might be necessary.
Now for the flip side of that equation: the threats that older systems can pose to your company.
4. Older systems can lead to a decreased cybersecurity.
Most recent data breaches and information hacks feature a common trait: hackers searched out and targeted older machines, usually with out-of-date software. These operating systems often haven’t received critical updates or crucial security patches, and those holes allow hackers to compromise important data, breach network protections, and turn technological oversight into real trouble for small to medium-sized businesses.
5. Older systems can lead to lower productivity.
If there’s one thing older computers are known for, it’s their speed — or lack thereof. Anybody who’s ever had to work on an out-of-date system knows about those blue screens of death, spinning pinwheels, frozen windows, and recurring crashes. Newer software and faster hardware can run much more seamlessly, allowing employees to get their work done much more efficiently. In this instance, following the “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” mindset can actually cost your company money in lost productivity, workplace redundancy, and potential mistakes.
6. Older systems can make it hard to recruit talented staff members.
Studies estimate that more than half of today’s workforce are aged 18 and 34 — people who have come of age with constant access to mobile devices, apps, and an endless stream of instant information. If a potential hire tours your office and sees out-of-date technology, will they want to come on board? Or will they opt for another opportunity with more advanced technology at their disposal? With a tightening labor market across much of North America, companies need to consider the best way to attract and retain prospective hires.
Despite the necessity of IT upgrades, the last thing any company should do is rush into the purchase of new technology just for new technology’s sake. With the help of a trusted IT provider, you can properly assess your current technology and make a plan for how it can help you meet your future business objectives. Any upgrade should be carefully considered and cost-effective, meeting the precise needs of your company and your employees.
That’s where CMIT Solutions come in. We have helped thousands of businesses big and small make the right decision about hardware and software upgrades. We pride ourselves on providing our clients with the advice, support, and options they need to succeed. In short, we worry about IT so you don’t have to.