Post: What Happens When Software Reaches End of Support?

What Happens When Software Reaches End of Support?

A number of software applications are reaching their end of support this year. That includes Adobe Flash, no longer supported after December 31 2020, and Microsoft products like Visual Studio 2010 and Windows 7.

The day after support ends for the software you use, it looks as if nothing has changed. It still works the same and will probably continue to work the same for months. It’s understandable if you feel there was a lot of fuss for nothing. However, complacency is not warranted here. Here’s why:

Security threats from hackers. By drawing a line in the sand for support, the software company is no longer obligated to apply any security patches. That gives hackers an opportunity to breach your organization’s security. Hackers will be actively looking to exploit any holes in security.

Problems from desktop updates. Updates to your desktop operating system can break older software. You may be able to hold off updating your OS temporarily, but ultimately (a most likely automatic) desktop update will break that software.

Legal issues. Unsupported software is outdated in other ways, too. It may no longer be in compliance with regulations your organization has to comply with. And it may jeopardize your own service level agreements with customers or your ability to deliver contracted business services.

Incompatibility problems. Other software tools that you depend on will also move off from support of the product. There’s simply no reason for companies to continue to code, test and support integrations with outdated software.

Code will break. Eventually, you’ll notice bugs or breakages in the tool. Or worse, you won’t realize that code is not executing properly. There’s no longer help desk support, although you may be able to search online forums.

Costs. Some problems may be able to be fixed by consultants, however, this is costly and is at best a short-term solution. There are also opportunity costs at play. Staying on an older, unsupported technology prevents your organization from keeping up with competitors. It may prevent you from upgrading your tech stack with other, newer software that you need. It’s also likely to make hiring IT employees more difficult, as few are willing to work supporting outdated technologies. And while front line employees might prefer the familiarity of an older solution, new hires will likely be frustrated working with it.

Sometimes an organization may have a good reason to prolong use of a legacy tool. Perhaps a new solution is going to go live soon. But imagine for a minute if right now you were unable to use that tool. Your screen goes black (or blue.) Do you have a plan B? Probably not, or not without significant effort. If you’re lucky, you have IT staff who can investigate and implement a short-term fix. But time spent on a fix is time away from the IT team’s core deliverables.

It’s a bit like the saying about planting a tree. When it comes to replacing software that’s reached end of support, the best time to do it was yesterday. The next best time is today.

Orbit makes it easy to move off Oracle’s ad hoc reporting tool Discoverer, which reached end of support in 2017. Learn more about how our solution can migrate your legacy Discoverer reports and give your organization modern reporting and analytics in a user-friendly interface.

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