As the effects of WannaCry and the recent Parliament email attack stick in the minds of business owners and security analysts across the country, many are asking what could have been done to protect their systems. For the Government, particular attention has been focused on the NHS’ outdated systems – but what, if anything, could have been done differently?
When the WannaCry ransomware struck one Friday in May, there was a clear lack of preparation. As organisations from across the world fell prey to the mysterious malware, users began to ask questions. How could this have been prevented? What was allowing WannaCry to infiltrate public and private infrastructure, such as the NHS? And what do we do to prevent this from happening again?
Undermining the NHS
For the NHS – the great bastion of public healthcare in the United Kingdom, which one would assume would be protected, as a priority – WannaCry brought to the fore a very important issue in end of life software: ensuring your systems are up to date and, most importantly, fully backed up.
Following WannaCry, it was discovered that rather than update their systems, at least sixty hospitals within the NHS found themselves forced to continue running on Windows XP due to budget restraints. The problem with this is, is that support for Windows XP ended some time ago – meaning that Microsoft’s operating system updates and security patches were unavailable to Windows XP users, despite being released just a few weeks before WannaCry surfaced.
Meanwhile, others simply hadn’t installed the updates even though their operating systems were supported, putting their IT at risk. The result, as you’ll recognise from the news, was that the NHS became the most prolific victim of WannaCry in the United Kingdom.
What This Means for Your Business’ IT
You might be asking yourself “what does this all mean for my business, though?”. Businesses not affected by WannaCry are in the prime position to learn from the crisis – in particular, they can now understand the importance of preparing and implementing a software update; while ensuring machines with old operating systems, such as Microsoft XP are replaced, before reaching end of life status.
However, it’s not just software and operating systems which have an end of life. Hardware and other kit eventually degrades and needs replacing too – nothing is, unfortunately, built to last forever. With an expiry date on all your IT, what can you do to ensure your business continues to run smoothly?
Growing in Line with Your IT
At CNi Solutions, end of life software and hardware forms the basis for quite a few conversations we have with our clients. For those businesses who have been with us for 4-5 years, their kit is becoming close to end of life and approaching a point where the machines are developing errors as a fact of their age.
This is where we talk to them about replacing their kit. Ideally, IT equipment must be replaced every 5 years, and operating systems should be updated long before support stops to prevent vulnerabilities, such as WannaCry. What’s great about these conversations, however, is that they represent a chance for clients to plan for the future too, ensuring that their growth is in line with their IT resources.
Leaving plenty of time before end of life happens allows time for better strategy formulation, the sourcing of suitable servers and equipment, and a chance to formalise IT processes, bringing the entire IT system together well before it expires.
This approach – aided by our structured finance option – gives businesses an unprecedented look at their IT expenditure for the foreseeable future, leading to more manageable growth and transparency.
Before It’s Too Late
If your machines are starting to develop errors and you’ve been using the same IT equipment for a number of years, it’s time to start thinking ahead about what you’ll do when your IT reaches end of life.
Fortunately, WannaCry has provided businesses with a chance to see what happens if end of life isn’t taken seriously – and we’re on hand to help you every step of the way.
Take control of your IT, before it’s too late. Get in touch with CNi Solutions and let’s talk about your current kit – don’t worry, there’s no sales pressure! We’re simply happy to help.