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Older devices pose major security risk when working remotely

(Image credit: Image Credit: Fotolia / Photographee.eu)

The Covid-19 outbreak has highlighted the significant security risk posed by old and obsolete hardware, according to a new report from NTT.

As per the report, almost half of all network assets owned by European businesses (45.6 percent) are considered either aging or obsolete, up from only 12 percent three years ago.

Older hardware often goes unpatched and carries a greater number unidentified security flaws, diminishing the strength of an organisation's security posture.

On average, outdated hardware has twice as many vulnerabilities (42.2) as aging hardware (26.8), while new and contemporary hardware exhibits 19.4 vulnerabilities on average.

According to NTT, the increase in old hardware in circulation is driven by a change in spending priorities brought about by the pandemic. Whereas usually businesses would invest in refreshing their gear, coronavirus has forced organisations to shift their attention to ensuring networks remain fully operational in a cloud-first environment.

“In this ‘new normal’ many businesses will need, if not be forced, to review their network and security architecture strategies, operating and support models to better manage operational risk,” said Rob Lopez, Executive Vice President, Intelligent Infrastructure, NTT. 

“We expect to see strategy shift from a focus on business continuity to preparation for the future as lockdown begins to ease. Network infrastructure needs to be appropriately architected and managed to deal with unplanned surges, which will require a relook at cloud and on-premises infrastructure to reduce the impact and frequency of business-critical outages.”

Embedding resilience into businesses will be key to their survival going forward, the report concludes. Companies will need the tools, knowledge and expertise to be able to re-architect the network for a remote-first future.