The Dangers of Running Outdated Software

The Dangers of Running Outdated Software

Your software is only as good as its last patch and could be one of your weakest links. Using software beyond its end of life (EoL) or end of service (EoS) date can have major consequences for your business. When a software reaches EoL or EoS, it no longer receives security updates or patches, making it more susceptible to security vulnerabilities, data loss, and other problems.

Ignoring the need to upgrade simply because the software still works may seem like a practical solution in the short-term, but it is a dangerous misconception. Not updating your software can put your business at risk of security breaches, loss of sensitive information, non-compliance with industry standards, and more.

In this article, we will explore the key impacts of running outdated software and highlight the importance of taking action as soon as your software reaches its EoL or EoS date.

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Consequences of Employing Outdated Software

The consequences of utilising obsolete software can be classified into three main categories:

  1. Security
  2. Privacy
  3. Productivity

Security Consequences

Using outdated software can present significant security risks such as:

  • No longer receiving security patches from the vendor, leaving the system open to exploitation from known exploits.
  • Threat actors may have already reverse-engineered the software, making it easier for them to penetrate your system.
  • Outdated software may cause compatibility issues with other software and hardware, leading to data loss or corruption.
  • It may also contravene the organisation's security policies, hindering the path towards a secure future and operational efficiency.

Privacy Consequences

The privacy implications of utilising outdated software can be substantial. If the software is no longer supported by its vendor and holds sensitive information, the organisation may be at risk of incurring a data privacy fine.

For instance, one example from the United States of how this can impact a business, the Federal Trade Commission is taking legal action against Chegg Inc. for failing to patch vulnerabilities that exposed sensitive information about its customers and employees. Such information included Social Security numbers, email addresses, and passwords. Despite four security breaches over a five-year period, Chegg allegedly failed to address these problems.

According to the FTC's proposed order, the company must take immediate action to address vulnerabilities and implement additional measures, such as limiting data collection and retention, providing users with multi-factor authentication to secure their accounts, and giving users access to delete their data.*

Productivity Consequences

Outdated software can significantly impact a business's productivity. For instance, if the software operates slowly, crashes frequently, or is otherwise challenging to use, it can cause frustration among employees and disrupt workflows. This, in turn, can lead to poor customer experiences, harm a company's reputation, and affect its bottom line. Hence, it is crucial to keep software updated to avoid these issues.

Collaborate for Optimal (IT) Outcomes

Awareness of the risks associated with outdated software and hardware is an important first step in securing your business. However, addressing these risks can be challenging while also managing the day-to-day operations of your organisation. That's where partnering with an IT service provider can be beneficial.

Our team can assist in identifying any outdated software or hardware and implement the latest security measures to protect your business. We stay up to date on the latest threats and updates to ensure your systems are functioning at their best. Contact us for a consultation to learn how we can help.

Obtain further information by downloading our infographic "Impact of End of Support on Your Business" by clicking here

Source: * https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/news/press-releases/2022/10/ftc-brings-action-against-ed-tech-provider-chegg-careless-security-exposed-personal-data-millions

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