Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.
The Dangers of End-of-life Software
I think it’s fair to say we have become something of a throwaway society. Not much today is built to last. This is certainly true in the ever-changing world of IT. End of life IT hardware & Software falls into the same category. Simply put, End-of-life for software is the date when a vendor stops delivering standard support for a product. So what this all means is unsupported and that means not maintained. Anything that is not maintained becomes more likely to go wrong. I have known many end-users that continue to use end of life software and like taking their chances on something drastically going wrong. With today's advanced threats taking risks should be far out of the question. The recent report on the NHS Cyber-Attacks cited that one of the issues that led to the attack was a failure to ‘migrate away from vulnerable older software’. Seriously your putting your data infrastructure at considerable risk.
Why using end of life software is a bad idea. So, what are the risks?
Data totally compromised—There’s no quick fix. Vendors will simply no longer offer a patch if a vulnerability is found.
It’s not just the computers in your office running the outdated software that are at risk, it’s the whole network. For example; when end of life came for Windows XP and PCs still utilizing the software there was a far greater risk of becoming infected with a virus, but once on the network, those viruses can impact newer versions of Microsoft products, including Windows 7 and Windows 10. A firewall and anti-virus are not sufficient protection against unpatched vulnerabilities, which hackers are quick to exploit. Hackers or competitors can infiltrate networks, wreak havoc on infrastructures and steal your precious information. Now Speaking of your information……
New applications are released on an almost daily basis and these are optimized for the most recent Operating Systems. You can’t use the latest apps or upgrade to the newest versions of your software. You will be forced to hold onto legacy applications and you’ll not have the latest features and developments. You’re then going to have problems with systems ‘talking’ to each other. This is effectively asking staff to work with one hand tied behind their backs. This could lead to you falling behind your competition.
Poor Performance and Reliability
Older software is less efficient; you’ll almost certainly be able to save time with a software upgrade. You want to have either your IT personal perform any major OS updates. The chances are that if you’re still running legacy apps or old versions of Windows, then you more than likely have some aging servers and workstations still in your network. As I specifically stated this adds to your risk because these out-of-warranty devices are prone to breaking down. You need to consider the downtime alone which could be costlier than an overdue upgrade.
Whether you think it or not your technology is a reflection of your business. People expect the latest, greatest gadgets. If they come to work and feel they are entering a time warp they could well become unhappy. In the era of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). People expect their employers to be compatible with their own smartphones, tablets and laptops.
Not buying the latest OS or software might initially look like a cost saving but the cost of one system failure will massively outweigh any savings made. With the likes of Office 365 offerings, the upfront cost is likely to be much lower than you think.
Simply put, there’s no safe way to run End-Of-Life software. The risks typically outweigh the rewards, even if you’re tight on budget. Security, compatibility, and compliance are all huge issues with EOL software.
How can we help
If you’re running End-Of-Life software, or you’re just not sure, we’d be happy to provide a free no obligation network audit. We’ll let you know exactly what you’ve got and how you can improve your efficiency and security.