"If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" That saying applies in many places, but NOT to computer hardware and software. It’s clear that many of today’s cyber attacks prey on vulnerabilities present in old software and hardware. This is especially true for operating systems such as Microsoft Windows.
It may not be “broke”, but it’s still old and very likely out-of-date. “Working” does not mean “secure”. Old software and hardware simply do not have the latest defenses like security patches and advances in firmware to keep you safe from new and ever-evolving threats. And depending on how old, some products are no longer supported or able to be upgraded at all.
Update your software
It’s not uncommon to see clients and others working on very outdated, unpatched Windows operating systems and other software that is sometimes been in service for many years with no recent updates or patches. We've said this many times before, but it does bear repeating: Keep your software updated and patched regularly and to the extent possible - have it done automatically. Also, upgrade to newer software versions as frequently as you can. These days, this has become especially critical after seeing how missing OS updates have fueled massive ransomware attacks this year with both WannaCry and Petya.
Upgrade your hardware
The same goes for technology hardware including servers, PC's, and even infratructure hardware like routers, firewalls, switches and wireless access points. Hackers have found security weaknesses in them as well. We generally recommend that equipment be updated every three years or so to improve security and to take advantage of faster speeds, improved video, and improved network connectivity. New desktops and laptops will come with the new and better parts, such as better memory, network interface cards, hard disks, and processors such as the latest Intel Core ones. These processors can help your operating system and security software products run more efficiently. Newer infrastructure hardware, especially firewalls and wireless access points have become far more sophisticated, much faster and contain better built-in security. In the case of newer wireless access points, their transmitters a lot more powerful, while their receivers are more sensitive and are able to better block superious signals from wireless phones and microwave devices.
Also,, keep in mind that the latest software may not run on outdated hardware. It could be that some of your older PC's and/or servers could be holding your security up because they can't run the best protective measures?
So we encourage you to commit to software updates and hardware upgrades as a regular task. You’ll be increasing your security as well as your productivity, getting the latest tools and fastest speeds.
Where do you stand with updates and upgrades?
Not sure where to begin? We can help! We can remotely scan all your equipment (in a totally secure fashion), develop an equipment and software list, and with you, develop a priorized hardware and software update/upgrade plan. After nearly four decades in business in Ithaca and Central New York, we absolutely understand that budgets for this kind of work aren't unlimited and that it's important for us to implement to equipment and software in the least disruptive way possible.