Is it time to update your tech? If you're Boeing, it might be time to evaluate whether those floppy disks from the 1990s are still the most effective way to update critical navigation databases for your 747-400 aircrafts.
Yes, you read that correctly. At the virtual Def Con conference in August 2020, Pen Test Partners revealed that Boeing's 747 aircrafts are still receiving updates from 3.5-inch floppy disks. The Register reported that these updates include relevant information about airports, flight paths, and runways among other navigational details. Avionics engineers visit these planes every 28 days with a set of 8 floppy disks in hand to make sure the aircraft has the right information to fly.
Keep reading: The International Space Station is Full of Floppy Disks
Outdated hardware can be inefficient, of course, and it can pose a serious security risk. To avoid situations like this, it's important to regularly evaluate whether your technology is in need of an upgrade.
- Signs you should update your technology
- How to make tech updates less painful
While you may use the old adage "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" to avoid replacing outdated hardware, there are certainly compelling reasons why you should upgrade.
Hardware obsolescence is a long-standing challenge in IT manufacturing. It's why new iOS updates from Apple don't support older iPhone models, and why you might have a hard time having your computer fixed if it's older than 10 years. It costs more money for a manufacturer to keep its support team knowledgeable about all legacy systems in addition to current models, so they only offer support for their products dating back to a certain point. If your hardware is outdated to a point that it doesn't support the latest operating system or software updates, you should look into upgrading.
Software engineers develop updates to their products under the assumption that end users have up-to-date hardware. As such, software companies can't guarantee that their software will operate with optimum performance if your computer is old. New software can also consume a lot of storage space and memory. Many old devices don't have enough resources to run them efficiently. Slow software can be frustrating, so the only real workaround is to update your hardware.
One compelling reason to upgrade your hardware, as simple as it may be, is if it's been a while since you purchased your current devices. Most businesses adopt a three- to five-year upgrade cycle to ensure their hardware is able to meet their needs. Hardware that's more than five years old can be slow to start up, open applications, or download files, which can be a waste of time that adds up significantly in the long run. If it's been a while since you bought your hardware and you notice that it's not performing as well as it used to, it might be time to replace it.
Your hardware is probably a minimum requirement to keep your business operational. It's the way you stay connected to your employees, customers, and business systems. So if your computer crashes or you drop your phone in the water, it may be more economical to replace the device altogether rather than making a band-aid fix. Plus, you may be wasting time trying to work with bad hardware when you could be using your time more productively. Sure, upgrading your hardware costs money, but it'll cost less than trying to fix broken pieces or making modifications to improve performance.
One of the biggest reasons to upgrade your hardware is if it's missing features that could benefit your business. We all know what it's like to see someone who has the latest smartphone and realize your device can't do what theirs can do. It's the nature of innovation; the newest devices will always have new features that add functionality or improve existing capabilities. If your competitors have devices with these features, there's a risk you could be slipping behind.
One of the biggest threats to cybersecurity is outdated technology. Especially if your laptop, tablet, or smartphone is no longer supported by the manufacturer, your device—and by extension, your data—could fall prey to an attack. Hackers who know the weaknesses of familiar hardware can exploit those devices through known vulnerabilities, or by finding holes in operating systems or software that can no longer be updated. Outdated hardware is a liability that can be avoided if you choose to upgrade.
The idea of moving all of your data and software to a new device is probably headache-inducing. Thankfully, if you make a shift toward cloud storage and a Software as a Service (SaaS) model, this process can be nearly painless. If your device fails or if the time comes for you to upgrade, you can immediately continue working from a new device with minimal downtime.