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Guest View: Businesses in Asia at risk of cyber attack and reduced competitiveness

Vincent Wong | Jan. 6, 2014
There are two significant issues business owners need to be aware of: security and productivity.

A modern organization operates in a world where employees move from PCs to smartphones to tablets, tweeting company news in-between e-mails, while closing business deals right after uploading a photo of their cute baby on Facebook. We're working, exercising, spending time with our family and friends, collaborating with colleagues, as well as socializing with our online communities - and we're doing it all at the same time.  We're always-connected, checking our smart phones before we even get out of bed, and everyone is innovating and inventing new ways to succeed. It's an exciting time.

Considering how the world has evolved in recent years, can any business rely on 10-year-old technology to power these critical day-to-day operations?

And yet 20th-century IT solutions continue to pervade many organizations in this region, with a vast number of businesses hanging on to outdated operating systems and productivity software that - in the world of constant evolution - are more relevant in a museum today, alongside those huge mobile phones some of us remember. According to StatCounter, there are currently 10% of computers in Singapore still running Windows XP as of December 2013. The statistics for companies using Microsoft Office 2003 are equally daunting, considering the fact that both Windows XP and Microsoft Office 2003 were introduced more than a decade ago. Can any business expect to flourish on decade-old technology? We know they can't.

Technology has evolved dramatically since Windows XP was launched. While Windows XP remains one of the most popular operating systems in Microsoft's history, it was not designed to handle the threats and opportunities today's modern software and applications deliver. What technology can do now, the possibilities didn't exist a decade ago.

Therefore upgrading from XP is a pressing issue for any organization, but it is more so for small-medium business (SMBs), who typically have limited resources in terms of people and capital, and are naturally inclined to extend the lifespan of investments - we understand this. While sticking to an old IT environment where "nothing is broken" seems like common sense on the surface, the risks of doing so runs deeper than most business owners realize.

Not upgrading means

  • Greater security risks
  • No one to call when problems arise
  • Increased threat of down-time
  • Reduced compatibility with today's technology  

There are two significant issues business owners need to be aware of: security and productivity.

Security

A 10-year-old operating system is completely incapable of addressing today's IT security threats. In a truly-global world, it is very easy for business operations to be crippled by malicious software and viruses - let's accept a core truth today, threats do not respect borders. When attacks happen, the consequences are dire, including lengthy downtime, loss of valuable data and huge financial grief.

 

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