The recent burst of damage caused by WannaCrypt, the latest form of ransomware, should demonstrate more clearly than ever how important it is to both keep patched, and periodically upgrade your machines.
Quietly, a few weeks before the attack, Microsoft released a series of patches that protected computers using Windows 7 and higher from the security flaw it exploited. As a result, few organizations running on modern operating systems and hardware were effected- but machines running Windows XP were struck hard. The British National Health Service was particularly hurt- many of their medical devices were XP based, and not properly secured.
Replacing old, out-of-date computers makes life much easier by making daily work and usage painless. Modern hardware is leaps and bounds better than even 10 year old technology, and it shows in daily operations. But it’s just as important to continue upgrading software, both through regular periodic updates, and through generational changes.
The WannaCrypt attacks show what a difference it still makes to be current, and stay that way- almost no one who lost data in the attack was using recent software, and the increasingly strong security work on modern programs deserves a spotlight for that success.