What does end of support mean?
End of support (EOS) is when a technology company stops actively developing or providing technical support for software products or technology equipment.
Most large software or equipment vendors, such as Cisco, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, or Microsoft have a highly structured product support lifecycle – which helps customers understand and predict exactly when the products they are using in their business are going to reach their end of support date.
Smaller vendors of CRM, Accounting, and Practice Management software may have a less formal process, but should still have some type of policy for this.
When a product goes end of support, the vendor will not:
- provide technical support (by phone / email / web chat etc)
- release new Security patches to help protect against newly discovered security vulnerabilities
Why does this happen?
Like all organisations, technology companies need to focus their resources on developing the current and new versions of their products, and as such, cannot support older versions of their products indefinitely.
In many cases, products which reach their end of support date will be 5 or even 10 or more years old, which means if you’re still using these products in your business, you’re not taking full advantage of the benefits of modern technology.
What is the risk and why should you upgrade end of support software?
IT Security vulnerabilities:
Technology products and software are often built on the foundations of earlier versions and share similarities in programming or components. Cyber criminals reverse-engineer newly-announced vulnerabilities in current products, to see if they also exist in older, EOS products. While the current product will receive a security update to fix the problem, the older, EOS product will never be fixed.
Organisations still running EOS products with known vulnerabilities will become progressively more vulnerable to attack as time passes – representing an increasing risk to your business.
One aim of cyber attacks is to obtain personally identifying information to use in other types of crime such as identity theft.If this happens, your business could be in breach of Data Privacy legislation including The Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA2018) in the UK and / or EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This could result in large fines and reputational damage to your business. Updating end of support software is an important part of maintaining DPA2018 / GDPR compliance in your business, and is a key requirement of Cyber Essentials.
EOS software can cause business interruption:
Poor performance and reliability
Older technology is less efficient and can reduce the efficiency of your business or make it more difficult for your software systems to integrate with one another or automate processes. If you are a professional services business that sells your time, this can then have a financial impact too.
Loss of staff productivity
In the modern world, employees expect technology that works for them, and on multiple devices, particularly with the recent transition to working from home. Staff productivity will decrease if there is a lot of time required bug fixing EOS software.
Although you may need to make an initial investment to update your software to the latest versions, the benefits far outweigh the potential cost of not upgrading:
Remedial costs after a cyber attack, which could include ransomware
Regulatory fines for lack of compliance
Business interruption costs
IT department or IT provider time
What should I do next?
Engage with your industry software vendors to find out when the products you rely on are going EOS.
Check whether you are running EOS products, or products which are about to become EOS
- please click on the links below for further details on major vendors’ products:
Talk to us for a free consultation about your options to move to modern alternatives before the EOS date arrives.
How we can help you?
In businesses of any size, upgrading important software or systems needs some planning. We can help you
Consider compatibility of current and potential new systems.
Check if your infrastructure sufficiently spec-ed to support new systems.
Engage with your industry software vendors to understand your upgrade options and look at alternatives.
Carry out the upgrade if you don’t have the skills in house to carry out the work – especially important if you are upgrading core infrastructure systems such as Windows Server, Exchange Server, or SQL Server.
Lucid Thinking can help you plan your upgrade, with minimal business interruption, ensuring security and compliance measures are in place.
Contact us for your free no obligation quote