"A manufacturer may have used a component, only to find out years later that it contained a dangerous vulnerability."

Old is a Threat: Why Old Hardware Poses Security Risk

Every week we receive notifications on our phones, computers, and tablets about updating to the latest software available. Making sure that we have the most up-to-date software has become a part of our everyday lives to ensure seamless functionality, take advantage of the latest features, and mitigate security issues.  However, as equipment ages, the availability of these critical updates diminishes until, eventually, equipment must be replaced.

In the case of critical infrastructure, operators struggle to replace equipment in a timely manner due to the sheer volume of operational equipment (OT) in their inventory. Oftentimes, equipment is not replaced until it breaks.

When it comes to security, old is a threat.

There are three main issues with old hardware:

  1. Obsolete hardware is more likely to contain known vulnerabilities. A manufacturer may have used a component, only to find out years later that it contained a dangerous vulnerability. As new models are released, problematic components are swapped out for higher quality, more secure replacements.
  2. Hardware often requires firmware patches to mitigate security vulnerabilities, but as hardware ages, the number of patches available decreases, until eventually the device is no longer supported by the manufacturer. These unmitigated vulnerabilities create attractive entry points for hackers.
  3. Old hardware can cause other business liabilities and concerns that impact your day-to-day operations. For instance, obsolete equipment may be a source of greater downtime and loss of productivity – ultimately degrading your ability to make time for implementing and maintaining proper security practices.

For a variety of operational challenges, we’ve seen companies struggle to maintain an organized and up-to-date IT and OT inventory, which is foundational for replacing equipment on an optimal cadence. Ceritas takes the guesswork out of assessing old hardware by combining an organized equipment inventory with a clear and actionable risk rating system. The Ceritas risk rating system is rooted in complex data analysis connecting products, components, suppliers, and vulnerability data. With Ceritas, you will know exactly when you need to act. This certainty means you aren’t wasting your time and money replacing the wrong equipment. Instead, you can optimize the procurement to prioritize replacing the most vulnerable equipment first.

Ceritas empowers your business to make smart decisions. Get a product demo to find out what hardware might be putting your organization at risk today.

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