A ticking time-bomb is facing organisations which are still using outdated computers with sloppy software.
Leading cyber-security company C3IA Solutions, headquartered in Poole, Dorset, said some firms refuse to face up to the problem
Hardware can just as easily fail as software and replacement chips and processors might simply not be available anymore.
Furthermore, the software coding practices of 10 or 20 years ago were not of the standard they are today and did not follow the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC).
Also, out-of-date operating systems are no longer supported and do not get patched and updated so the risks are huge.
Matt Horan from C3IA Solutions, said: “It is remarkable how many organisations have not kept their systems up-to-date – it is a problem in both the private and public sectors.
“The speed of advancement in computers should surprise no-one; to move from the childlike Sinclair ones to the powerful and connected PCs of today has taken just 40 years.
“Standing still where computer technology is concerned is actually going backwards; and an organisation that keeps reversing will never prosper.
“Hackers and cyber criminals will always pick the low hanging fruit and organisations with old hardware and software present easy pickings.
“Working with out-of-date computers is like being on analogue in a digital world; the computers might be what you’re used to and feel comfortable with, but they are dangerous.
“The chips and processors will be creaking and there might well be no way of replacing them. If the computer dies, a business might die with it.
“Also, the software of ten or more years ago did not follow the SDLC which was introduced to standardise coding and promote good practice.
“In the past, coders often included backdoors so they could circumvent the security if they needed to gain access, and these vulnerabilities remain.
“At that time many organisations relied on bespoke in-house coding, and applications might have been written by someone who has left the business – or even died – leaving a major problem.
“The organisation then ends up with possibly its crown jewels hosted on a system that cannot be supported and using processors that cannot be updated.
“We are seeing a lot of this and when the perfect storm hits, the cost to start all over again might be vast and of course information, records and anything else crucial to the company could well be lost for ever.
“Some businesses just can’t face undertaking the necessary changes or fear the cost of doing so. But doing nothing is likely to cost more time, money and stress than ignoring the problem.”