What Does End of Service Mean for Software

Publisher Advisory
What Does End of Service Mean for Software?

What Does End of Service Mean for Software?

  • Dan Ortman
  • Software Lifecycle Management, Publisher Advisory

It’s the end of the year and a good time to ensure your end of service strategies are locked in place. This post kickstarts a series on how you can ensure you’re prepared for 2020’s end of service updates.

Software is central to the operations of modern organizations. It plays a part in helping every team within your business work more efficiently and effectively. However, many kinds of software adhere to a product lifecycle that concludes in an “end of service” date. Once this date has been reached, the manufacturer will no longer support that particular edition of their software.

Following end of service, organizations will no longer receive any updates or support for the affected software. This includes security updates, bug fixes, and technical support. With software being central to your organization, being unprepared for an end of support event can interrupt business continuity and operations, and compromise devices or even entire corporate networks.

Organizations often only have three to twelve months to prepare for a product’s end of support. During this time, the software can still be used – but waiting until the support has expired can put your organization at risk. Let’s take a closer look at how end of service effects an organization’s software use.

End of Service Damages Security

End of service (EoS) will leave your organization vulnerable to attacks on your devices and network. With malware attacks becoming increasingly frequent, these vulnerabilities cannot be left unpatched. End of service events function as signals to determined hackers – if they can find a path into your organization’s sensitive info, they know you have little recourse. From there, they can either steal data or install malicious programs on your company’s devices.

An end of service event can happen to software across your entire organization, so it’s important to stay vigilant. Operating systems like Windows 7 face EoS events as well as communication software like Exchange 2010. Some software can even leave your entire network vulnerable. For this reason, it is key that organizations don’t miss a single end of service notification and make plans to update their software infrastructure promptly.

The German Federal Office for Information Security (also known as BSI) recommended in 2016 that all software updates and security patches should be applied immediately to avoid ransomware attacks. This is vital, since many vulnerabilities are found in commonly used software applications every year. For example, 39 vulnerabilities were identified in Microsoft Office 2010 during 2018 alone. Despite being a popular systems software, over a thousand vulnerabilities have been found in Windows 7 since launch.

Keep in mind that vulnerabilities caused by out-of-date software aren’t usually protected by antivirus programs or firewalls. While antivirus solutions and firewalls provide some protection for devices in your network, hackers specifically seek out known end of service related vulnerabilities to circumvent these protective measures.

End of Service Effects Stability and Compatibility

Following the end of support, your software will usually continue to work as intended - until it doesn’t. Sometimes, compatibility and stability issues will suddenly arise and render the software unusable. Since EoS leaves IT teams with no manufacturer support, organizations are being pushed into purchasing new software before they’ve created a detailed upgrade plan.

If these issues don’t occur shortly after the end of service, there’s a high probability that compatibility problems will happen down the line. New software and hardware is often not programmed to be compatible with software that has reached its end of service. This can cause formidable productivity issues – modern software environments depend on many interlocking parts, and if one cog breaks, the negative effects could trickle down across your entire organization. This is especially true if these programs support your organization’s central processes.

For this reason, organizations must make Software Lifecycle Management (SLM) a priority and put a distinct focus on visibility. If key programs lack support following the end of service, it won’t just harm your bottom line in the short term, it can compromise employee satisfaction. This can then extend to your network of customers and partners, damaging your reputation.

Be sure to keep an eye on a manufacturer’s official support details, as incompatibilities sometimes arise before the end of service. For example, in 2017 Windows 7 and 8.1 stopped providing support for a few new processors from brands like Intel, AMD, and Qualcomm. Plus, one end of service event often spurs another – especially for operating systems. For example, following the end of service for Windows 7, many types of software began to announce subsequent end of service events.

End of Service Facts at a Glance

End of Support for Windows 7 Whitepaper

This whitepaper examines the background and consequences of the end of support, describes in detail the most important options for action, and aids in making a decision.

more

Planning Your Upgrade

Unfortunately, it’s often not possible for organizations to fully mitigate these negative effects with their internal team. The expense and burden of troubleshooting, sparing, and remediating software and affected hardware is immense. Keeping this in mind, it’s wise for IT teams to plan their upgrades many months in advance.

However, sometimes mistakes happen and end of service dates are overlooked until the last minute. If the out of service software is published by a software vendor like Microsoft, then organizations should look into purchasing extended security updates. This is a temporary solution that will help keep your organization secure and running smoothly.

After end-of-service has been announced, IT teams should immediately begin planning their upgrade roadmap by leveraging the expertise of trusted advisors. This is especially important with the cloud revolution in full swing, as organizations must deliberate between purchasing on-premises or cloud options. In addition to this, they must take care to properly optimize their chosen software option – especially if it is cloud software.

Preparing for End of Service with SoftwareONE

To follow an optimal upgrading process, organizations would benefit from having access to specialized software experts. By leveraging SoftwareONE’s Publisher Advisory Services, you’ll enjoy greater visibility across all of your software assets, allowing you to better understand when end of service dates are occurring. In addition to this, our team will provide unbiased support and recommendations when constructing a roadmap in response to end of service announcements, while keeping your organization’s business requirements top-of-mind.

Plan Your End of Service Roadmap

 We have software experts reading to help with a range of software manufacturers like Microsoft, AWS, VMware, and many more. Discover our Publisher Advisory Services.

Mitigate Your Risk
  • Tuesday 03 December 2019

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Author

Dan Ortman, Author SoftwareONE Blog

Dan Ortman Microsoft Advisory Services Practice Lead

Publisher Advisory | Microsoft

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