Just like the bread you picked up from the grocery store, your hardware and software have a "best used by date" on them. You don't normally use this term for technology, but you may have heard the term "end-of-life" (EoL) when talking about technology. And just like your technology, when the bread goes bad it's time to throw it out and go to the store.
Why does technology have an end-of-life date?
Technology isn't exempt from the rule, "All good things must come to an end." Technology is constantly advancing and when a new groundbreaking technology is released the old will become obsolete over time. Take the iPhone for example, they release a new model with an upgraded camera, new features, and advanced processing power. Apple will provide support for older models temporarily, but eventually, they need to transition and discontinue support for these aging devices.
What does End-of-Life Mean for Hardware and Software?
Your initial reaction to hearing that your hardware or software is EoL might be to just brush it off. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it", right? Unfortunately, ignoring outdated technology warnings can have major privacy and security implications for your organization.
Your technology dinosaurs won't receive updated security features, patches, or support from the manufacturer. This leaves your organization open to bad actors to exploit vulnerabilities in your infrastructure. Additionally, your outdated hardware and software may no longer be capable of meeting compliance requirements, as those evolve with the latest technology.
Furthermore, having unsupported operating systems may impact your cyber insurance coverage. In fact, cyber insurance policies frequently feature exclusions for security incidents stemming from unsupported or unpatched hardware and software. These factors could affect your current coverage and potentially hinder your upcoming renewal. While your existing setup continues to function, it's essential to acknowledge these risks. So, we strongly advise you to review your cyber insurance policy for potential liabilities associated with unsupported servers.
To effectively manage this, it's crucial to establish a plan for when your hardware or software reaches its end of life (EoL). Your team can achieve this by staying informed about manufacturer updates and notifications. Alternatively, partnering with an IT services provider, whose role is to track technology news and trends, can be invaluable in this regard.
End-of-Life for Microsoft Office 2013 & Windows Server 2012
Microsoft stopped supporting Office 2013 in January of 2023 and Windows Server 2012/2012R2 in October of 2023. If you're still using these programs or one of their older versions, your organization will no longer have access to technical support or receive updates and bug fixes from Microsft. Not only are unpatched vulnerabilities the cause of 1 out of 3 cyber breaches worldwide, but there were 1,292 reported Microsoft vulnerabilities according to BeyondTrust's 2023 Microsoft Vulnerabilities Report.
Even though your Microsoft Office 2013 continues to perform the basic functions, you risk exposing your organization to thousands of vulnerabilities. Also consider that if you are receiving information about Office 2013 being EoL, so are the bad actors and they view these as opportunities for their next big payday.
So what's your best course of action? Update your operating system and Migrate to Microsoft 365 (M365). M365 is a cloud-based solution for all of your favorite Microsoft applications with advanced features that improve collaboration and productivity for your employees.
Additionally, you don't have to worry about EoL software or update disruptions to your operations with their licensing model. You get to continue using the same best-in-industry applications while Microsoft releases patches and updates automatically in the background.
Ascend Can Help
Feeling determined to safeguard your organization from the pitfalls of outdated software and hardware? We get it; it's a crucial step, but it doesn't have to be a solo journey.
That's where we come in. With our wealth of experience and expertise, we're not just here to guide you; we're here to be your partners in securing your business. We'll show you the ropes and equip you with the tools you need to stay ahead of the game, ensuring that outdated software or hardware won't catch you off guard.
If you're as dedicated as we are about strengthening your organization's tech backbone, don't hesitate to reach out for a no-obligation consultation. Let's embark on this journey together.