The Definitive Guide to End-of-Life Software: Risks & Solutions
Why you should be concerned
All software will eventually reach the end of its life. It’s a simple fact of technology — everything becomes outdated and is replaced by something newer or better eventually.
As new technologies are introduced and new features are made available, older programs just can’t keep up and will eventually get cut off from receiving updates at all. This is known as ‘end-of-life’ software — and lots of companies worldwide still rely upon this kind of software.
There are risks and challenges with this, however. That’s why in this article, we’re going to go over the risks and challenges associated with end-of-life software, and how you can solve these issues today.
What is End-of-Life Software?
End-of-life software is simply software that has reached the end of its product lifecycle. This is usually when a program will stop receiving updates and patches, and will be regarded as a ‘legacy’ program by the company producing and developing said software. There will also be no technical assistance available for the product.
A given piece of software usually reaches the end of its life after multiple updates to successive versions of itself. For example, Windows 8.1 reached the end of its lifecycle on January 10th, 2023 — an operating system that has multiple successors (Windows 10, Windows 11, and the rumblings of Windows 12 on the horizon).
End-of-life software will also usually stop being available from official sources — or at the very least become available on a legacy downloads page. While some companies will release end-of-life software for free as open-source software, a lot of companies will make downloads unavailable due to the risks associated with end-of-life software, especially when it comes to the importance of security.
Some examples of end-of-life Microsoft software are — Windows 8.1, Exchange Server 2013, SQL Server 2012, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2012 R2.
The Risks of Running End-of-Life Software
There are many risks and difficulties in using and running end-of-life software, due to the considerations that need to be made when using outdated technology.
Higher operating and support costs
Due to the lack of support for end-of-life programs from official channels, finding helpful support could not only be difficult but also costly. Companies that will be able to help you will be few and far between, and will often ask a pretty penny for the specialised support.
Moreover, operating costs for end-of-life programs will be much higher due to the applications not running on/being designed for newer hardware or operating systems. This will require more investment throughout your organisation to ensure that the end-of-life programs can be used as the rest of your organisation’s technology moves forward.
Security is a massive issue when it comes to software — and end-of-life software is one of the biggest security concerns out there.
As programs stop getting updates, they stop receiving security patches to protect them from newer attacks and exploits. This means that, as technology progresses and the power of a given attack increases, the end-of-life software can be a huge vulnerability for your whole organisation.
Moreover, a lot of end-of-life software isn’t built with modern security in mind — security has changed significantly over the past decade. This means that the program may have internal vulnerabilities that are known to be easy to exploit, making your organisation more of a target.
End-of-life software will eventually fail to meet compliance requirements for your business, due to the aforementioned lack of updates and lack of modern security features.
Especially with regulatory compliance laws becoming more and more common, utilising legacy systems that don’t meet those requirements and regulations could result in repercussions for your organisation.
Loss of Productivity
Productivity focused app design has only recently been at the forefront of business software development.
With older applications that haven’t been updated with the modern productivity features and quality-of-life features that are commonplace for most applications, productivity will inevitably be lost throughout your organisation.
Moreover, having to utilise old systems that could be filled with bugs and difficult-to-use interfaces will cause lots of time to be wasted.
End-of-Life Software Solutions
There are a few different options to solve the problems of end-of-life software.
Upgrade the Software
Lots of end-of-life applications and software will have modern equivalents (or even just updated versions) that your organisation can easily migrate to.
While this may result in some upgrading throughout your organisation as a cascading effect, ensuring that everything within your organisation is up to date is a good thing — and this is a great way of starting that process.
Move to Cloud Services
Cloud services are a great way to ensure that the technology that your organisation is using is always up to date and has access to the latest features. Cloud services such as Microsoft Azure are upgraded on the server side regularly, meaning that there’s no need to upgrade them manually.
Migrating over to the cloud will also mean that you don’t have to worry about upgrading hardware to match the requirements of newer software — the hardware of a cloud server is always the best available and is maintained and updated regularly by the provider.
Work with an IT Provider
All of this might just seem like a headache to handle on your own — which is reasonable and quite often correct. However, IT providers such as ourselves are here to give you a helping hand for that exact reason.
This is why getting in touch with an IT provider to find the best solution for your organisation is the best path forward. We’ll be able to help you work out exactly what your needs are and how to solve them going forward, and our expert team will be there the whole way through.
Move On From End-Of-Life Software Today
End-of-life software is a hazard for any organisation. The risks associated with outdated and obsolete technologies can truly cause, at best, pain for your organisation, and at worse, a major security catastrophe. Legacy software simply isn’t made for modern organisations, so utilising a solution to move forward from that software is the best option.
If you’re looking to move to the cloud, upgrade your software, or simply just need a helping hand, get in touch today. We’ll be able to guide you through everything you’ll need and take care of all of the tricky parts.
Get in touch now and see how we can help!