old technology issues

Are your team still using old technology?

When did you last invest in new technology for your business? This year? Last year? A few years ago?

Perhaps you’re using a mixture of old and new – replacing equipment and software whenever outdated systems breakdown. Chances are there’s at least one piece of equipment or software in your business that’s ageing and in need of replacement – but maybe you haven’t got around to replacing it just yet.

We know many business owners put off investing in new technology and there’s a number of reasons why:

  • The cost – updating and replacing old technology requires financial investment.
  • Perceived loss of productivity – updating hardware/software or replacing devices takes time. The team will also need to be brought up to speed with new technology.
  • If it works, don’t change it – if old technology seems to be working correctly, many business owners opt not to replace it until it’s broken in a bid to save money.
  • Fear of change – it’s human nature to be reluctant to change things out of fear of upsetting the balance of your business, so many business owners opt to stick with old systems until they eventually fail.

What most people don’t realise is that failing to update old technology could be costing your business far more (in time and money) than it’s saving.

The obvious cost of using old technology is the loss of productivity. Old technology is generally slower and tends to crash or have issues functioning effectively. So, when a computer is down or running slowing, it’s easy for everyone to see the negative impact this is having on your business. But, there are also lots of other issues that can arise as a consequence of using old technologies…

Here are 12 hidden issues old technology could be causing your business:

1. Processes are ignored

Successful businesses rely on staff following the correct processes. But when IT doesn’t work properly, it can force employees to take short cuts or workarounds simply to get the job done.

Of course, as soon as unapproved processes and working methods are introduced into the business, things quickly start to go wrong. Calls, orders and tasks might not be recorded correctly, and you can soon lose control of everyday processes.

2. Higher costs

If you’re trying to reduce energy costs within your business, it pays to look at your use of technology. Old systems don’t have the latest modern power-saving technology of newer equipment. That means if you have a lot of kit within your offices, you could make major energy savings by investing in newer devices.

And of course, when systems are running efficiently, you save on staffing costs too. Having the right technology will give your team the tools to be more productive. For example, platforms such as Microsoft Teams enables employees to communicate effectively, collaborate on projects together, and achieve more each day. This creates a more efficient use of your employee resource.

3. Inability to work flexibly

Over the course of 2020 and 2021, businesses had no choice but to transition to remote working practices. Having the latest technology in place was a key factor in this transition. Those businesses who had already invested in newer technology could seamlessly make the change and operate just as efficiently from home. Those who had to update and replace old technology experienced productivity loss and disruption.

And flexible working is not set to slow down in the future. Technology has developed to the point where employees can successfully work from anywhere. More businesses than ever are introducing flexible working policies, whereby employees can work from home, in the office, on the go or at specialised working hubs. This has been proven to improve employee wellbeing and productivity. It also makes it easier to employ and retain the best staff, cutting your recruitment and training costs.

So naturally, you need to be confident that all your systems, hardware and devices are secure and functional when being used outside the office environment. Typically, older technology does not provide the security or functionality that you need to work flexibly, simply because it was only ever designed to be used in the office. As such, it’s essential that you update old technology, giving your team the freedom to work from anywhere.

modernising the workplace 2021

4. Expensive emergency fixes

With a clear IT strategy and investment plan, you can create an annual budget for hardware and software upgrades, allowing you to stay up-to-date and in control of costs. If you don’t have a strategy and instead stick with old technology until the day it lets you down; the costs can be unexpected and far higher.

When a piece of equipment fails and your business can no longer operate, it’s likely that you’ll have to seek emergency IT support. This will naturally be more costly than planned preventative support. The outcome may be that you need to replace equipment – and you may rush to find a quick fix to get your business up and running – rather than being able to research the best options and deals.

5. Lost customers

There are lots of ways old technology can cause you to lose valued customers:

  • Old technology puts your business at higher risk of security breach. If your data was to be compromised, your customers would lose faith in your ability to protect their data and may stop using your products or services.
  • If old technology causes your devices to run slowly, you may be unable to respond to customer enquiries efficiently or process orders as quickly as your competitors.
  • Slow technology can hinder you from helping your clients. If they contact you with a query and your devices are running slowly, you may have to say ‘we’ll get back to you.’ But, if your systems are efficient, you’ll be able to bring up their information quickly and give them an instant answer or resolution.

Ultimately, your customers don’t want to wait around. If your competitors are providing a quicker, more efficient service, they’ll likely favour their services over yours.

6. Environmental impact

Sustainability should be a key concern for any business. Climate change is quickly devastating our planet and if you don’t take steps to become more sustainable, your customers will notice and may be deterred from working with you. Outdated technology is far less energy efficient and will increase your environmental footprint. Consuming too much energy may reflect badly on your reputation, as well as increasing your expenses.

7. Security risks

Cyber security experts Varonis reported that, in 2020, security breaches had increased by 11% since 2018 and 67% since 2014. This number is set to continue rising throughout 2021, targeting businesses of all sizes. In fact, cyber criminals know that small businesses are less likely to invest in advanced cyber security solutions and are more likely to have gaps in their cyber security strategies. They, therefore, choose to target them in order to gain ‘quick wins.’

The risk of becoming victim to a cyber-attack is increased if you’re using old technology. Technology is always evolving, meaning cyber criminals are always finding new ways to penetrate your systems and gain access to your data. As such, hardware manufacturers and software developers are constantly working to beat cyber criminals and keep up with new security demands, protecting you and your team from cyber-attack. So, the latest version of any technology will be the most robust when it comes to protecting your business from security threats.

Whereas outdated technology will not be equipped to protect against new and emerging threats. In fact, old technology is especially vulnerable to attack as outdated systems are often no longer supported by the company that created them. With no security updates, new issues are not addressed and it’s unlikely that you’ll even find out about the risks until it’s too late.

For example, if your operating system is out-of-date, you’ll be missing out on the latest features, such as security patches, that will fix vulnerabilities from older versions. You might think the solution is to save money by uploading the latest operating system onto an old machine. The problem is older models might not have the processing power to handle the new operating system efficiently. As a result, even with the new operating system in place, your business could still be open to security risks – as well as the downtime caused by trying to make a new OS work with old hardware.

If you handle customer data, you have an even greater responsibility to ensure information is kept safe. Many viruses are created specifically to steal this type of information. If data is stolen by cyber criminals, you could receive huge fines as well as losing loyal customers and destroying your company’s reputation.

8. Compliance issues

Many businesses will be required to comply with industry and standard regulations, such as FCA and GDPR, that largely relate to the cyber security measures you have in place. If you don’t meet these regulations, you will receive hefty fines from authorities and your customer base may lose faith in your ability to protect their data. Many of these regulations require you to use up to date technology to help protect against cyber threat. For example, if you process payments through Visa and Mastercard, you must comply with Payment Card Industry (PCI) regulations which includes ensuring you are using a modern operating system.

9. Lost opportunities

A successful business is one that’s agile and ready to respond to new opportunities. But if you’re busy fixing IT problems or resolving issues caused by old technology, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to invest time in business growth.

We’ve seen countless industries disrupted by new start-ups who are working more efficiently and giving customers what they want. By sticking with old systems and technologies, you risk being overtaken by competitors who aren’t even on your radar yet.

So, if you’re ready to take control, don’t wait for your tech to fail, put a plan in place today and enjoy all the benefits that new technology delivers to your business.

10. Productivity loss

Productivity loss is the most obvious issue that old technology will cause your business. If your technology is slow and out of date, it won’t be able to meet the demands of your business or your customers. For example:

  • It will take your employees extra time to complete everyday tasks
  • Older technology is more prone to breaking down, even with proper maintenance, so your employees will experience more IT issues, wasting their time as they wait for them to be fixed
  • Your team will be disrupted as they try to help each other resolve issues or share computer equipment
  • There will be less scope for technology to integrate or automate processes
  • Your employees will struggle to work efficiently if they’re not in the office, limiting the capabilities of your business

11. Compatibility

If you try and integrate new applications, software, or platforms with old devices they may not be compatible. As such, it would be extremely difficult to get them working together effectively. This limits your business; it stops your staff from being able to make full use of new technology and risks you losing out to competitors who can take advantage of the latest tech.

12. Increased stress

Depending on the culture within your business, you might find your teams are very vocal about the problems old tech is causing. Or instead, they may keep quiet and just try to get the job done, despite the issues they’re facing. Either way, battling with IT problems weekly or daily puts a strain on your people.

When you can’t do your job efficiently, it causes a great deal of stress. Deadlines might be missed, team members might be worried about letting colleagues down, and there is a feeling of helplessness when systems don’t work.

With this pressure, staff become less productive, less motivated, and more likely to take time off sick with a huge rise in lost hours and increased recruitment costs.

Conversely, when technology is up to date, productivity and morale rise. Teams enjoy their work and rather than spending the day battling IT issues, can invest their time on more profitable activities.

How often should I replace my old technology?

You might be wondering how old technology is before it’s no longer fit for purpose. Well, it depends on the particular piece of equipment or software system but here’s a rough guideline:

How often should you replace office laptops?

We recommend replacing laptops roughly every three years. If you’re not sure if your office laptops need replacing, your IT support provider will be able to advise as part of a regular health check.

How often should you replace office desktops?

We expect desktop computers to last around three years before they will need upgrading. This is in line with the recommended manufacturer warranty. Again, your IT support provider will be able to advise.

How often should you upgrade your operating system?

It’s important to regularly update your operating system when prompted by the provider. Remind staff to keep on top of updates. It can be tempting to hit ‘postpone’ when you want to get started with another task but keeping software up to date can create much greater time-saving benefits throughout the day.

Make sure you know what operating system you are using and whether it’s the latest version. We recommend always using the latest version or the one prior to this but never anything older.

The latest version of Windows, for example, is Windows 10. If you are using anything older than Windows 8 (as Windows 9 was never released), then it’s time to upgrade.

Read more about the benefits of Windows 10 here.

What’s the best way to ensure my technology is always up to date?

Our number one piece of advice for ensuring old technology doesn’t cause issues for your business is to partner with a proactive IT Support provider. If your IT partner is proactive, they will continually monitor your systems, applications, and software, ensuring that they are always kept up to date so you don’t have to. Additionally, they will also regularly report on your device health, so that you’re alerted to when old devices could start causing issues for your business. You won’t need to worry about keeping track of how up to date your technology is, it will all be done for you, preventing any of the issues mentioned above from impacting your business.

Not sure whether your current IT Support provider is proactive enough? Read our blog about proactive IT now.

Want more information on how Netstar’s proactive IT Support will help you solve and prevent issues in your business. Contact us now.

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