Nothing is built to last forever – and this is especially true for enterprise-grade computer hardware and software.
For organizations of all sizes, the idea of upgrading hundreds or even thousands of machines because a provider deemed it necessary is a grim thought. To make matters worse, many organizations are unaware that a simple oversight when updating their applications can lead to errors with catastrophic business implications.
However, keeping programs that have surpassed their End of Life (EOL) is even more hazardous. Running EOL software on enterprise networks is one of the most common vulnerabilities that increases an organization’s data breach risk. For example, although Microsoft warned that Windows 7 would be retired in January 2020, recent research has shown that 17 percent of desktops are still running the operating system as of June 2021. Windows 7 is a much-beloved operating system so it’s not surprising that organizations don’t want to let it go. However, it simply isn’t as secure as its successor. Businesses that failed to adapt paid the price when 98% of the computers impacted by the 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack were running Windows 7.
For that reason, it is imperative that organizations understand how to reduce the security risks EOL software poses and prepare to upgrade solutions that are nearing their EOL date. Let’s take a closer look at why you shouldn’t keep software past its expiration date and outline best practices to prepare for upcoming EOL announcements.