Outdated Software Carries More Risks Than You Might Think
Specialty software can be pricey, varying from a few hundred dollars to jaw-droppingly expensive. Sometimes, that cost is a one-time purchase, and sometimes, that’s a yearly or even monthly subscription. Some businesses can afford this with ease while others struggle to pay for the programs they rely on.
It makes sense that many businesses try to get the most value out of their purchases by continuing to use outdated software even when a new version is available. Unfortunately, trying to save money can open the business up to major vulnerabilities that could cost much more than updated software.
To you, it may seem like a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” situation. Sure, the software likely still works perfectly. You and your employees know where everything is. You’d rather spend the budget on other things.
What’s So Bad About It?
The problem comes in when the developer stops providing security updates for your version of the software. Many companies will continue to support older versions of software to a point. After that, it’s no longer sustainable for them to continue support. Then, it’s up to the consumer to upgrade.
If the consumer doesn’t upgrade, vulnerabilities in the software will remain unpatched – and hackers take advantage of that. Cybercriminals know the software better than the average user, and it’s much easier for them to enter through an open door than break one down.
In addition to the exploits, you also run the risk of losing the program through a PC crash or failed hard drive; many companies will stop hosting the installer for old versions, so you may not be able to re-install your software. You could reach out to the company, but they may not be able to help or may expect payment for a current version before they’ll assist.
Similarly, if you update your operating system, your old software may not be compatible, period, and will be totally unable to run on your new OS.
That program may have cost you a good chunk of change back in the day or you may be trying to save costs wherever possible right now, but using outdated software is a fight against the clock. What will go out first? Security updates that will leave you exposed? Your PC? Software compatibility? It’s a matter of “when,” not “if.”
It’s a risky game to play when it comes to cyberattacks, data loss, and essential parts of your business becoming unrecoverable in a disaster. If you have outdated software you’ve been putting off upgrading, it may be time to look into your next steps.
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