CyberHoot was approached by an MSP recently that was struggling to convince a client to upgrade some aging equipment. This hardware, while functional, was long out of support by the manufacturer. After a recent incident in which eBay was used to source a piece of aging hardware that had failed, they asked for CyberHoot’s help. This article’s infographic was the result. We researched and discussed with several MSPs the reasons cited for why you want to upgrade aging hardware and software.
End-of-life, and out-of-support software becomes a larger target for hackers because vulnerabilities are no longer patched. This includes hardware that is no longer receiving updated drivers and software. Upgrade software to ensure vulnerability fixes remain available.
Older hardware is prone to more catastrophic break-downs. Power supplies or hard disks are usually reliable for a good long time, however, every hard drive manufactured has a Mean-Time To Failure (MTTF) for a reason. Eventually they fail. When this happens, the recovery is much more difficult and time consuming as it entails rebuilding systems, restoring data, and reconfiguring configuration files that might not have been backed up.
When new hardware fails, parts are readily available. When old hardware fails, parts can be hard to find. This hardware heist likely targeted aging equipment that could not be found on eBay or secondary markets. Some desperate party hired thieves to steal the necessary replacement parts. Upgrade hardware before parts become scarce or even unavailable which leads to lengthy downtimes.
If your audit program involves vulnerability scanning or penetration testing, then running antiquated hardware or unsupported software is quite likely to lead to unexpected audit failures. You may not have an issue with missing patches today, but hackers are always finding new attacks. unsupported equipment is unlikely to get fixes from vendors who have moved on to newer hardware/software.
Any outages today lead to bad press. Extended outages due to an inability to quickly recover from an outage or failure for extended timeframes due to aging hardware/software could lead to extra brand damage especially if the root cause is identified in the media.
Upgrades Become Much More Complex and Failure Prone
Upgrading older software can require multiple upgrade steps to get to a current supported version. Hardware upgrades without software updates can simple break refusing to operate. The complexity of such changes can often cause difficult to predict failure conditions where older software cannot run newer hardware or vice versa.
Older hardware and software often runs much slower than new hardware and software for a number of reasons. Aging equipment can bloat with years of accumulated registry changes, software installs and uninstalls. This can slow machines down to unacceptable performance levels. Many MSPs CyberHoot works with follow a 2-3 year upgrade cycle on laptops and a 3-5 year cycle on workstations.
Software companies are always innovating with great new features. It’s often the case that the latest new features simply won’t run on your older equipment.
Support is Non-Existent
Adding to the duration of down-time length is a general lack of software and hardware support for aging equipment. Even extended support warranties are poorly services by many companies as the staff that once new your equipment inside and out have long left the building and folks who know how to trouble-shoot your equipment become harder or impossible to find.
Cloud-Migrations can be Impossible
In the last 5 years, and especially during Covid, many companies migrated on-premises software applications to their cloud equivalents. However, migrating your data becomes more complex, if its even possible, when the on-prem solution is so far out of date that there’s no migration path directly to cloud solutions.
Nothing says you care less about your staff than aging equipment that hasn’t been upgraded in a long time. With tight labor markets, you’re chasing your talent away from your company if they have to endure slow, antiquated and problematic equipment to do their daily jobs. The frustration that builds with the inevitable failures, downtime, and lack of support could be the last straw that causes someone to resign and move on to a more current company.
Upgrading aging hardware and software starts with a strong IT Management. Managed Service Providers have experience planning migrations and upgrades and equipment replacement all the time. Scheduling your equipment refreshes on a consistent and predictable basis will help your chief financial officer better manage company finances, improve operational efficiencies, and keep staff happier. Now, isn’t it time you got rid of those floppy disks?