Just like physical products, software eventually gets outdated, and manufacturers stop developing it. Software that has is no longer being maintained is known as end-of-life (EOL) software. While it may be tempting to continue using an old software system for your small business, EOL software usage can jeopardize your business’s cybersecurity.
Security Vulnerabilities of EOL Software
When software updates are discontinued by a software manufacturer, the risk of cybersecurity vulnerabilities increases dramatically. Since there are no more security updates, technical support, or bug fixes, EOL software systems are easy targets for cybercriminals seeking to exploit your business.
Unpatched software vulnerabilities pose significant cybersecurity risks. For example, one study found that 3 out of 4 cyberattacks in 2020 exploited security vulnerabilities from 2017 or earlier.
Discontinuing Old Software
Business owners often point to short-term advantages of keeping old software systems to justify not purchasing a new system. Perhaps it would be a significant hassle for employees, or it would cost a large sum of money. However, the cybersecurity risks of keeping outdated software systems outweighs the benefits (read more about this in our free full report – see below).
EOL Software Management
Many insurers ask about your business’s EOL management plan when determining your cyber insurance coverage. Having a plan for what will happen if your current software is no longer supported is important. Here are a few important suggestions for preparing for EOL software.
- Monitor notifications from any critical software systems you currently use
- Review the EOL dates of new software that you are purchasing before making a final purchase decision
- Make a plan for phasing out unsupported software in a way that will not interrupt business operations
- Follow best cybersecurity practices
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