Businesses can be reluctant to perform server upgrades out of fear of network downtime and disruption. This is rightly something to fear, but the cybersecurity threats posed by not upgrading your servers are even greater.

The security risks of delaying upgrades

The biggest problem with old servers from a cybersecurity perspective is that at some point they will stop receiving patches and support.

No server is immune to this. A modern example is Windows Server 2008 R2, which millions of enterprises still use, despite it being discontinued from service in January 2020.

Hackers are well aware of the vulnerabilities in end-of-life software and specifically target these systems because they are an easy target.

Data breaches and ransomware attacks are two of the biggest threats posed to your organisation as a result of outdated servers. Servers are rich targets because they often hold a substantial amount of valuable data.

Depending on the existing specification of your servers, you may require significant hardware and software upgrades, server replacement, or only new software. It depends on the specification of your servers and your resource demands.

It’s a matter of when – not if – you should upgrade

Server upgrades aid cybersecurity because they utilise in-licence software that’s still supported by the vendor. With no support for end-of-life operating systems, old servers are at risk of new and emerging security threats.

If your servers are running end-of-life software and have hardware that’s over a decade old, you are probably already behind 90% of your competitors.

When it comes to easing the server upgrade process, look for servers with in-built security, like HPE ProLiant Gen10 servers and Dell PowerEdge servers. You should also look for vendors and migration partners who can make the upgrade process simple, with processes in place to eliminate network downtime and disruption.

Faced with potential network downtime and disruption, delaying server upgrades may appear to be a logical action. It’s important not to be swayed. Putting off upgrades will only leave you susceptible to cybersecurity threats.

We recommend conducting a review of your servers and systems every year to establish how far ahead of existing and emerging threats you are. When it gets to the point where a threat could compromise your operation, it’s time to upgrade.