Are you still running your firm’s important applications on your trusty old server, with outdated operating systems because they ”still work” and are good enough for the time being? You may look at your old server like a trusty old car, you are familiar with the ride and it gets you where you need to go. But lurking below the surface of that trusty old car and even your old server, can be hidden risks that can result in very big issues, even dangers, usually when you least expect it.
Security risks are the number one danger of older technology. The older your operating system or application, the more vulnerable your firm is to security threats. This is especially true when the manufacturer is no longer actively maintaining support, providing security updates or software patches. These vulnerabilities were exploited in the recent global ransomware attack which the NHS fell victim to. It was suggested that 90 per cent of NHS trusts in the UK were using Windows XP – a 16-year-old operating system which reached it’s “end-of-life” back in April 2014.
Old technology also doesn’t benefit from advances in security. As an example, Windows Server 2003 lacks compartmentalisation available in modern server operating systems such as Window Server 2016. Once an intruder gains access to your system, they will have access to all your server applications, middleware and databases running on the server platform.
Dangers can lurk across the entire aging application platforms, that includes older versions of SQL Server, Oracle, Access and Filemaker Pro which are particularly at risk of cyber-attacks. Security patches can keep your data safe on an ongoing basis, but it’s always a good idea to check when the manufacturer’s service agreement expires.
You may want to review the following links for Microsoft Products end of life cycles https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/help/13853/windows-lifecycle-fact-sheet and https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4001737/products-reaching-end-of-support-for-2017.
A recent study commissioned by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on cyber security stated; “Just under half (46%) of all UK businesses identified at least one cyber security breach or attack in the last 12 months. Businesses that hold electronic personal data on customers are more likely than average to have had breaches (51% versus 46%).”
Loss of productivity and increased downtime
A little like your trusty outdated car, outdated software runs on outdated hardware, which eventually leads to loss of productivity, increased downtime and continued system failures.
Outdated hardware running old software can take upwards of 5 minutes to log in and complete a simple task, not only is it frustrating for the user it is also decreasing productivity for your firm. As employee mailboxes grow in size, machines that have lower amounts of memory and slower hard drives can take longer to open emails and to switch between folders.
Hard drives are the most likely to fail in antiquated hardware since they have moving parts. The damage caused by system failures can range from frustrating to catastrophic. A hard drive failure usually results in severe data loss, not having an operational backup of your data could mean extended loss of productivity for your firm and may include breaches, recovery costs and even devastatingly – complete loss of data.
Increased operational costs
Running outdated technology increases operating costs, it’s inefficient making it more expensive to run and maintain the systems. These systems require constant attention, taking staff away from their duties to resolve IT issues. You also need to consider when employing IT professionals and new employees that they have the skills and knowledge to maintain and operate the software.
Have you deliberated the cost of loss of productivity within your firm? You might like to put this into perspective by calculating the following formula: Loss = Time Lost (hours) x Hourly Rate then multiply that by 225 days (average working days within a year).
You may also find that your firm’s hardware is experiencing compatibility issues with newer software and operating system updates. Troubleshooting these issues can be time consuming and may come at again, further cost.
Outpaced by your competitors
The explosion in the use of mobile devices and real-time transactions supported by cloud services cannot be handled by legacy and outdated systems. Your competitors are quite likely using technology to gain a competitive advantage over your firm, by communicating better, responding quicker, producing electronic correspondence and strengthening relationships with their clients.
Let’s face it, a client is going to be drawn to the newer model rather than your trusty old car.
Today, technology has a significant impact on how we work, where we work and even on what time of the day we work. It’s pivotal to invest in the long-term success of your business! Through implementing the very latest technology across your practice, you and your law firm can truly work at capacity with no delay or interruption. You will wonder what you ever saw in that trusty old car.