While using older tech within a corporate network doesn’t necessarily mean a company’s sensitive files will be breached, it does place these organizations at a higher risk of data loss, theft and network downtime, according to Softchoice. Like the recent End of Service date for Microsoft Server 2003, these solutions still function, but without the safety net provided by knowing there are manufacturer patches in place in case something goes wrong.

“Most organizations struggle to get a basic understanding of the state of their network because few regularly check up on the different devices they have in play,” said David Brisbois, senior manager of Assessment and Technology Deployment Services Consulting at Softchoice, in a statement. “It isn’t until a breach occurs or their network crashes that most organizations react and realize their network is past its ‘best before’ date.”

Information for the study was gathered using Softchoice’s Cisco Contract TechCheck assessment service, which examines the state and health of a company’s network infrastructure, according to the announcement.

Overall, 51 percent of all devices analyzed were deemed to be end-of-sale, 4 percent were end-of-support, and 30 percent lacked Cisco’s SMARTnet technical support service, according to the announcement.

For companies looking to upgrade their enterprise networks, Softchoice recommends businesses first assess their existing infrastructure and then evaluate their disaster recovery strategy before deciding on if and what they wish to replace. Once these steps have been taken, Softchoice said it is important to remember that end-of-sale solutions normally have a maximum of two to five years left of manufacturer support, and suggests replacing these solutions as soon as possible.

While the suggestion to replace aging solutions is solid advice, budget restrictions and a general lack of IT knowledge will result in many companies continuing to use out-of-date hardware and software until a disaster strikes. However, MSPs in particular can capitalize on the opportunity to help upgrade these networks by offering subscription-based solutions, thus helping customers to stay up to date with the latest technology while securing a monthly revenue from each subscriber.