Many small and mid-sized companies – indeed, companies of all sizes – feel that spending to keep technology up-to-date is a waste of resources because technology changes so frequently. These companies don’t realize that keeping technology up-to-date is actually a sound business processes that reduces risk and actually saves money in the long run. Here are a few things to consider when contemplating technology upgrades.

Support, Crashes and Downtime Costs

Older technology is more prone to crashes because of virus attacks, incompatibilities with newer software technology and multiple hardware issues. Research shows that it takes $780 per year to support a PC running Windows XP, but only $168 per year for Windows 8. In addition, PCs more than four years old average 21 hours of downtime, which results in lost productivity, and it costs nearly twice as much to repair that older PC than a newer one.

With the cost of PCs at an all time low, you can buy a new PC for well under $1,000, and you have to add a lot of bells and whistles to configure one that exceeds $2,000. At a difference of $612 per year for support, you can buy users a new PC every year and still be ahead of the game in cash outlay. When you factor in the increased productivity and security of new hardware and software, staying up to date makes total sense. The same math holds true for servers and other technology components.

Cyber Attacks and Malware

Healthcare cyber attacks have already breached 89 million personal records in 2015 – 16 times the number of breached in 2013. Even large banks are concerned about risk. According to research published in the Dayton Business Journal, 90 percent of large banks have added a chief risk officer to focus on cyber attacks, yet more than half still felt that their risk management was only intermediate. Even the U.S. government recommends keeping software up to date to protect against cyber attack. In fact, it’s the first step they recommend on FEMA’s Ready.Gov site for responding to cyber threats.

Malware is rampant on the Internet, and an innocent user may inadvertently allow access to a virus or Trojan horse that can bring your business to its knees. Users don’t even have to download anything to put your company at risk. A single typo while using the Internet could send them to a phishing site that steals company or customer information. A slip of the mouse could activate an ad that loads a virus onto your network.

Hackers are no longer stereotypical 15-year old nerds hacking just to prove a point; hackers are now globally organized crime rings intent on finding and exploiting unprotected information. Technology companies spend millions every year plugging potential entry points, but hackers move just as quickly to find new ones. If you stay on unsupported and outdated technology, you are leaving the door wide open.

As an example, Windows Server 2003 has an announced end of service date of July 14, 2015. Every day you stay on that technology puts you more at risk because Microsoft will no longer issue security patches after that date. You put your business at risk of breach or data loss by delaying an upgrade.

Legal and Regulatory Compliance Risks

If your business processes credit cards, you must be PCI compliant. The latest PCI standards call for upgrades to TSL standards, and the guidelines specifically call out PCs running Windows XP and old versions of Internet Explorer as risks. Failure to comply can result in termination of your ability to process credit cards as well as large fines and possible litigation.

If you work with patient information, you must comply with HIPAA regulations, which requires strong security. HIPAA fines can reach $1.5 million per year per violation, and may also include prison sentences.

The same compliance requirements hold true if you deal with government entities or nearly any business. The truth is that the fines levied as a result of a foreseeable security breach make the cost of keeping technology updated seem like a bargain in comparison.

Cloud Computing

The advent of cloud computing has made staying up to date with technology much more manageable for companies. When you delegate your IT infrastructure to your cloud provider, upgrades and patches become their problem, not yours. Your people have fast, reliable access to applications and information from anywhere at any time. Solutions such as Office 365 are cost effective ways to provide the most up-to-date productivity apps to your team without the deployment hassles.

Up to date technology mitigates risk and improves productivity at a lower cost than staying with older technology. Given that, it makes sense to keep all your technology current.

Interested in learning more?  Join us on April 29th at the next Workplace Solutions for Small Businesses Workshop hosted by the Chesapeake Department of Economic Development for two informative presentations, Unlocking the Secrets of Outlook and Technology Trends for the Modern Business, as we explore opportunities to overcome the risky business of outdated technology. There is no cost to attend.

WHEN April 29, 2015 | 8:30 a.m. – Noon
WHERE Chesapeake Economic Development
676 Independence Parkway, Suite 200 | Chesapeake, VA 23320
RSVP by April 27th | Send an email to Angela Barber or call 757.382.8040