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What Are the Risks of Using Unsupported Hardware?

What Are the Risks of Using Unsupported Hardware?

Andrew Douthwaite

April 26, 2021

Last updated September 27, 2022


  • Holding off on replacing your hardware until it breaks can seem like an easy way to save money, but old hardware comes with numerous drawbacks.
  • Old hardware costs more in the long run to maintain, can create compliance issues, often suffers from reliability issues, and can leave your network vulnerable to cyberattacks.
  • Using outdated hardware can also increase your impact on the environment, make data recovery more difficult, and present you with a shortage of options when looking for people with the skills to use or maintain it.
  • The problems outdated hardware causes can also negatively impact customer experience, having a direct impact on your revenue.
  • Hiring cybersecurity and IT professionals to provide managed infrastructure services can reduce or eliminate these issues and prevent them from impacting your business.

From a financial standpoint, it makes sense to try and hold out on upgrading your hardware until something breaks, even if the hardware in question is no longer supported by the manufacturer. After all, if it still works, why replace it?

However, using unsupported hardware brings with it a wealth of cybersecurity risks, can hinder productivity, and can hurt your bottom line.

See also:

9 Reasons You Need to Say Goodbye to Unsupported Hardware

You’re Incurring Unnecessary Expenses

Once hardware reaches its end-of-life (EOL), you’ll likely have to pay a hefty premium to keep your aging technology up and running. If extended support is available at all, it isn’t likely that many companies will offer it, leaving you less choice and hampering your ability to shop around for the best price.

You May No Longer be in Compliance

Financial organizations and healthcare providers, in particular, are subject to strict codes of compliance. When your organization is tasked with protecting sensitive patient or customer data, extra steps need to be taken to ensure that data is secure. 

Without the ability to install security patches to address known vulnerabilities or support up-to-date (and more-secure) versions of the software your organization relies on, you may no longer be able to comply with relevant regulations, leaving your organization vulnerable from a legal and compliance standpoint.

Outdated Hardware is Unreliable

Aside from the expected wear and tear on old components (which will become increasingly difficult to find or repair), outdated hardware doesn’t support new versions of the software your organization requires to function. As such, you will likely be forced to rely on outdated software, curtailing system performance and cutting you off from new features. 

Outdated hardware is also more likely to crash, increasing system down-time and causing headaches and frustration for employees and customers alike.

Productivity Takes a Hit

Unsupported hardware affects employee productivity in a multitude of ways:

  • Employees have to invest more time and energy in keeping outdated hardware up and running, pulling them away from tasks that grow your business.
  • Outdated hardware isn’t able to support the newer, faster, more reliable versions of the software your organization depends on, which means employee tasks end up taking longer than they should because workers are left waiting for software to load.
  • Employees who are continually frustrated with the tools they need to do their jobs are less likely to be satisfied with their jobs overall, leading to higher turnover. Not only does this lead to increased costs (during the training period, trainees don’t make the company money, they cost money), but it also decreases productivity as new members learn the skills they need to do their jobs. Workers are also more likely to view employers with high turnover rates with suspicion, which may make it harder to attract the skilled workers you need to succeed.

Your Network is Left Vulnerable

Older hardware is unable to support the newest software, which means you won’t be able to take advantage of security patches or other steps software manufacturers take to address vulnerabilities in their products. Cybercriminals are well known for targeting older software with known vulnerabilities since not all users will have the latest security patches installed.

Increased Environmental Impact

Everyone knows old cars are more likely to be gas guzzlers than their sleek modern counterparts, but the same holds true for outdated hardware. Increased energy consumption leads to higher electricity bills, increasing your carbon footprint while further eroding your bottom line.

You May Experience Data Recovery Problems

Should disaster strike, outdated hardware means you may have trouble recovering lost data. Depending on your industry and the nature of your business, the impact of this lost data could range from frustrating to catastrophic. 

You’ll Likely Encounter a Skills Shortage

As we mentioned in the section about unnecessary costs, finding a repair or maintenance company with the skills needed to repair and maintain your outdated equipment may be difficult. Even if you are able to find a business that can help, there aren’t likely to be many of them around, which means you will likely be left with the choice of either paying exorbitant amounts for repairs and maintenance or upgrading your hardware anyway.

Also, because older hardware is only able to support older software, you may find it’s difficult to find workers who are familiar with the programs you use. For example, many financial institutions rely on software written in COBOL; a vintage programming language developed nearly 60 years ago that isn’t regularly taught in universities anymore. Unfortunately, many major financial corporations (and sections of the federal government) rely on systems that use COBOL, and as older programmers retire, they are having a hard time hiring qualified replacements. 

By holding onto unsupported hardware, you may be compromising your organizations’ future as it becomes increasingly difficult to find workers and repair people who have the skills needed to maintain your outdated and aging equipment.

Frustrated Customers Are Likely to Become Former Customers

In the age of instant results, a slow website or frequently inaccessible client portal is incredibly frustrating. Customers expect to be able to access products and services quickly 24/7/365. That means organizations that experience frequent outages, slow software, and other outdated hardware-related issues are likely to see their customers abandon them for competitors who offer a better user experience.

Looking to Break Up with Your Outdated Hardware? Virtual Armour Can Help!

A system migration may seem daunting, and not every organization has the people power or the inclination to maintain and troubleshoot their IT infrastructure or keep it up to date. That’s why Virtual Armour offers managed infrastructure services

Our team of experts will monitor your network 24/7/365 and troubleshoot any issues that arise quickly, minimizing or even eliminating downtime. We’ll also ensure your system is kept up to date with the latest security patches and keep an eye out for suspicious activity. If you’re looking to say goodbye to on-prem hardware solutions altogether, we also offer cloud services.
For more information about our cloud or managed services, or to get started on your data migration, please contact our team today.

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