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The dangers of using outdated computer systems

Many companies continue to use outdated systems, operating systems, and software. This can include operating systems such as

Many business owners understand that computer systems require regular maintenance and upgrades. They also understand that these systems not only include physical hardware, like PC’s and laptops, but also includes operating systems and software applications. In a lot of cases it is the software which dictates why some outdated computer systems cannot be updated. Some business owners will also refrain from upgrading their outdated computer systems for as long as possible in the hope they can save money. This brings about risks which we will highlight in this blog post.

Why do people use outdated systems?

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There can be many reasons why this happens but most fall into one of two main categories; 1) the cost to upgrade or replace a system is too expensive or, 2) there is no suitable system to replace the legacy one. 

A good example of where the cost could be too great to upgrade a system can be found in the manufacturing sector. Software installed onto PC’s is used to control cutting equipment and upgrading the software can be very expensive as it could also include updating the machinery. This type of legacy software cannot be installed onto newer PC’s and therefore may have to be installed onto old Windows XP or Windows 7 computers.

An example of there being no suitable replacement for a legacy system can be sometimes found with bespoke software solutions. A bespoke system may be too big and complex to rewrite or there may not be a suitable off-the-shelf solution available to replace it. Many banks and insurance companies maintain legacy systems.

What are the risks?

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Using outdated computers and legacy software will put your business at risk. We highlight 3 main risk areas:

Viruses & Spyware

Unsupported operating systems like Windows XP and Windows 7 do not receive security updates leaving them susceptible to viruses & spyware.

Communication Problems

Legacy applications and operating systems may not be able to communicate with the latest systems or software and will eventually stop working or require custom support.

Hardware Failure

Out of date hardware, including computers, servers, laptops and even printers, could fail without warning and leave you without mission critical equipment.

Minimising Risk

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Once you understand the risks of having outdated computer systems, you can formulate a plan to minimise those risks. We take a look at 3 key areas:

Supported

Ensure all your operating systems and applications are still supported by the supplier and have the latest security patches installed.

Upgrade Path

Keep a log of the hardware and software and their potential lifespans so you can prepare for upgrades or replacements.

Be Prepared

Older systems may eventually fail or not be able to communicate with new technologies so be prepared and have an alternative system or procedure ready in case the worst should happen.

Aspect IT can help your company

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Our IT team have extensive knowledge of not only maintaining legacy systems but also migrating them to the latest technologies. This includes hardware and bespoke software which means you can be assured we have a technical expert in every area to help your company. Contact us today to see how we can help.


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