The WannaCry ransomware attack brought renewed attention to the importance of cybersecurity for businesses of all sizes. WannaCry targeted a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows, infecting more than 230,000 computers in 150 countries and causing billions of dollars in damage.
While WannaCry was a particularly virulent strain of ransomware, it’s just one example of the many cyber threats that businesses face on a daily basis. And as our dependence on technology grows, so do the risks.
One area of vulnerability that is often overlooked is outdated hardware. Outdated hardware can create security vulnerabilities that can be exploited by cyber criminals.
What is Outdated Hardware?
Outdated hardware is any piece of hardware that is no longer supported by the manufacturer. This can include computers, routers, printers, and more.
While it might seem like a minor issue, outdated hardware can create serious security risks for businesses. That’s because manufacturers typically stop providing support for their products after a certain amount of time. This means that they will no longer release security updates or patches for vulnerabilities.
This leaves businesses using outdated hardware open to attack. And as we’ve seen with WannaCry and other attacks, even a single vulnerability can have devastating consequences.
How do I Know if My Hardware is Outdated?
It’s important to regularly check your hardware to see if it’s outdated. There are a few different ways to do this:
- Look for end-of-support dates: Many manufacturers will list end-of-support dates on their websites. You can usually find this information by searching for the product name and “end of support.”
- Check for security updates: If you can’t find an end-of-support date, you can also check to see if the manufacturer is still providing security updates. To do this, go to the manufacturer’s website and look for a section on security updates or patches.
- Get help from a professional: If you’re not sure whether your hardware is outdated, you can always reach out to a professional information technology consultant. They will be able to help you assess the risks and determine if your hardware needs to be updated.
What are the Risks of Using Outdated Hardware?
When you use outdated hardware, you’re putting your business at risk in a number of ways:
- Security vulnerabilities: As we’ve seen with WannaCry, even a single security vulnerability can have devastating consequences. And when manufacturers stop releasing updates for their products, these vulnerabilities can be left unpatched. This leaves businesses using outdated hardware open to attack.
- Compliance risks: Many businesses are required to comply with industry-specific regulations. These regulations often require businesses to use certain types of hardware and software. If you’re using outdated hardware, you might not be able to meet these requirements. This could lead to fines or other penalties.
- Operational risks: Outdated hardware can also lead to operational problems. For example, if you’re using an outdated computer, you might not be able to run the latest software. This can make it difficult to work with clients or customers who are using newer versions of software.
How Can I Protect My Business from the Risks of Outdated Hardware?
There are a few steps you can take to protect your business from the risks of outdated hardware:
- Check your hardware regularly: As we mentioned earlier, it’s important to check your hardware regularly to see if it’s outdated. You can do this by checking with the manufacturer or looking for end-of-support dates.
- Upgrade your hardware: When you upgrade your hardware, you’ll get the latest security features and updates. This will help protect your business from the latest threats.
- Use a virtual private network (VPN): A VPN can help to protect your business from cyber attacks by encrypting your data and hiding your IP address. This makes it more difficult for hackers to target your business.
- Use security software: Security software can help to protect your business from a variety of threats, including viruses, malware, and phishing attacks. Make sure to keep your security software up to date to get the latest protection.
- Train your employees: Employees are often the weak link in a company’s security. Train your employees on cybersecurity best practices, such as using strong passwords and being cautious of phishing emails.
- Back up your data: In the event that your business is attacked, it’s important to have a backup of your data. This will help you to recover quickly and minimize the impact of an attack.
Outdated hardware can pose a serious risk to your business. But by taking some simple steps, you can protect your business from the dangers of outdated hardware.