Risks of Aging Technology and Benefits of Upgrading
“Why should we upgrade when the existing system still works fine?”
Many organizations maintain regular technology refresh schedules where old equipment is replaced on a set schedule, usually every three to five years. Alternatively, organizations may choose to keep technology through its full, usable life. In such cases, the full, usable life may extend past the warranty period for hardware products or past the end of support period for software. Having a complete understanding of the complications of using older equipment can help organizations proceed with the correct equipment refresh policy for their needs.
Cyberattacks and Liability Risks
One of the biggest risks to larger organizations is the brand impact and liability cost of a cyberattack or theft of customer data. If software and equipment is kept past its end of support or end of life date, there generally will be no further firmware or software updates to the product. If there is a security flaw later discovered, and the equipment is in service, the options to protect against an exploit of the security flaw will be limited and inadvisable.
Utilizing equipment and software that is actively supported and maintained by the product vendor is a much safer policy. Reputable vendors with a strong vulnerability response policy who are actively supporting in-life products make it a priority to release a fix to any significant security flaw that is discovered. This means firmware or software patches should be provided shortly thereafter, keeping your equipment safe from being exploited using a known security vulnerability.
Out of Warranty Hardware
A purpose-built computer, such as a Network Video Recorder, may appear to continue to function well, even beyond its warranty period. With a personal or business-use computer, the purpose of the system is constantly changing to fit the user’s evolving needs. New software is installed, generally with higher system requirements than old software, more data is saved, and less free space is available. These effects, over time, lead to the appearance that the system is slow or out of date, prompting an upgrade naturally. However, if the NVR is performing the same tasks as when it was installed (recording the same cameras, streaming to the same displays etc.), it will continue to function with the same performance as when it was first deployed, begging the question, “Why should we upgrade when the existing system still works fine?” One answer is the hardware may no longer be under warranty.