All business owners want to maximize their profits and get their money’s worth out of products they buy for their businesses. But holding onto and using old computer systems can be detrimental; every system has a lifecycle for when it should be retired, even if it still works.

So, what does that mean for example, if you have an old system on your network, such as one that runs Windows XP?

Microsoft stopped providing support for Windows XP in April 2014. The updates that Microsoft provides for its operating systems fix flaws and vulnerabilities that are continuously discovered in the complex world of computer security. Since Microsoft no longer provides updates to prevent attacks, these XP machines become more vulnerable as time goes on.

In this article, the director of security at Microsoft notes:

“As for the security mitigations that Windows XP Service Pack 3 has, they were state of the art when they were developed many years ago. But we can see from data published in the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report that the security mitigations built into Windows XP are no longer sufficient to blunt many of the modern day attacks we currently see.

“As a result, the security features that are built into Windows XP are no longer sufficient to defend against modern threats.”

Even if you use an XP machine as a spare PC and not for work-related items, having it on the network provides a gateway to the rest of your machines and data. Hackers can start malicious attacks by logging in as a guest user on that PC. Network security, especially when it comes to end of life machines, should be top of mind for your business.

In addition, the Federal Appeals Court ruled that the Federal Trade Commission has the power to take action against companies that employ poor IT security practices.

Keep your network and the data that resides on it safe and free from exploitation by removing old, outdated systems.