“As an IT company, we’ve heard it time and time again,” says Barry Semple, VP of Information Security and Technology with Fully Managed. "But we’re here to tell you, just because your computer still works, if you haven’t been diligent about technology upgrades, security patching, and updating your operating system, you could have a serious security risk on your hands.”
It’s no secret that cybercriminals look for low-hanging fruit
--easy access points to infiltrate networks and access corporate data. Leaving vulnerable devices in your organization is like leaving the door wide open to hackers and malicious threats. A perfect example: In January 2020, Microsoft announced it would stop providing free security updates and support to the Windows 7 operating system. While the company might still issue the occasional critical patch, without routine updates, your devices are left unsupported and vulnerable as cybercriminals find new vulnerabilities to breach your system. Customers everywhere were urged to upgrade to Windows 10 to ensure continued security. Unfortunately, in many cases, that plea fell on deaf ears. It is estimated that there are still 100 million machines running Windows 7 in 2021.
“People could opt to pay for extended Windows 7 support, but really that’s just delaying the inevitable,” says Semple. “People need to take recommendations like the Windows 10 upgrade seriously and if their device allows, upgrade to the latest operating system. If a device is too old to handle the upgrade, that should tell you something—time for a new device.” Productivity is also something to consider when it comes to older devices. To be effective and efficient, your employees need adequate equipment to do their jobs. Frustrating device sluggishness or complete downtime could mean hours, days, or weeks of lost productivity. In the long run, that costs your business much more than a device refresh.
As of September 2020, it was found that over 58 per cent of Windows servers accessible from the internet were still running an operating system no longer supported by Microsoft
—constituting a very real risk to the business. The majority of critical data within a company is concentrated and stored within the server environment, providing a key target for cybercriminals. Keeping server operating systems and business applications up to date helps prevent attacks caused by viruses, malware, and ransomware. Additionally, keeping these central systems up to date supports business operations by improving stability, availability, and speed while greatly improving business processes with new functionality.
A Fully Managed Account Manager or virtual CIO (vCIO) team member can help you plan for the future. It is important to have a device refresh plan in place to ensure your organization (and your team) can function optimally and maintain adequate device security. We can help you determine how many devices within your organization are vulnerable and help you create a strategy for upgrades that makes sense for your business. Reach out today to discuss your options.