If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
These simple words were quoted to Bert Lance, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget in Jimmy Carter’s 1977 administration, in a newsletter of the US Chamber of Commerce as he gave his advice on trying to save the government billions.
While that advice may work for many things in our lives, technology isn’t one of them.
Technology improves at a fast-paced rate. In a matter of just a few years, even the most advanced equipment can lose functionality and become archaic at best.
Yes, you can hang on to a computer that is five, six, seven years old or older. Yes, you can use software that hasn’t been updated in years. But what about your competition? Are they pulling way ahead of you simply because of the efficiencies they’ve introduced into their everyday work environment?
Compare a small business operating using an Excel spreadsheet for tracking customer relationships on a desktop computer, with one who has invested in a customer management system that runs through apps on any smart device. Who will provide a better customer service experience? Who will do better over time?
Old technology also has another risk; the risk of more frequent downtime, data loss, and reduced productivity. A hard drive more than four years old is at risk of failure. Old routers and firewalls are especially vulnerable to today’s newly developed attacks.
And just like outdated technology equipment, your older software is vulnerable too. Old programs are more likely to receive security attacks and less likely to be fully supported by the creator. For instance, Windows XP operating system was deemed unsupported by Microsoft in 2014, yet millions continue to use the system. That means no more security patches, an increasingly rising rate of attacks, and more data than ever at risk.
Yes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” might be a good motto for some things. But technology isn’t one of them. Down time can cause such a serious disruption, it’s important to have a standing technology plan in place. Have a schedule for when old equipment will be replaced. And if you suspect you’re having a problem with hardware or software, the sooner you investigate, the better your chance of avoiding complete failure.
When was the last time you updated your old technology?