Federal Agencies might need to improve their tech to prevent breaches. According to new research from Dell, several government institutions are currently using outdated software and hardware. The computer company revealed this information as a part of its annual ‘State of IT trends’ study in July.
Dell’s findings showed more than half federal agencies had not updated their operating systems. The study also presented alarming results regarding some of the department’s computer equipment.
Peen Shoen Berland was the research firm in charge of conducting an online survey for Dell. The company questioned 100 IT and managers from government agencies. Most of the employees -42%- identified cyber security as a primary concern.
The report noted 71% of departments are using old operating systems to run critical applications. Windows 7 and Windows 8 are the dominant OSes, according to 61% of the respondents.
The dangers of Legacy systems
The survey also exposed other concerns from decision-makers due to the use of Legacy IT. 19% chose cost of system support, while 16 % went with limitations on the ability to modernize. Besides, 12% expressed problems from system failure, and 11% stated concerns regarding compatibility problems with peripheral devices and accessories.
According to Dell’s research, the use of Legacy IT could end in damaging consequences. In part, because outdated systems are costly to maintain, and often leave departments vulnerable to cyber attacks.
The computer company also reported the oldest equipment of agencies included network routers -67%-, servers -70%-, and desktops -72%-.
Outdated technology has been a problem among officials for a while
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) conducted a study with similar results in May of this year. The report stated the U.S Department of Defense was still using floppy disks on some of its desktops. Other findings from the same study, showed the Department of Treasury working with a computer language developed in the 50’s.
Steve Harris, VP and General Manager of Dell Federal, released a statement urging government organizations to implement modern and virtualized environments. He said agencies should commit to keeping with the times, as it would help to secure mission- critical data and reduced maintain costs.
Old software could enable hackers to sabotage the upcoming state elections
On Monday, the FBI warned state officials to improve election security after hackers breached data systems in two states. Yahoo News first reported a confidential ‘flash’ alert from the FBI’s cyber division. The Bureau didn’t name the affected states.
However, election websites in Illinois and Arizona suffered hack-related problems earlier this summer. In both states, the attacks focused on the sites’ voter registration section.