A blue key that says Update on a keyboard

The Risks of Using Unsupported Software

As a Denver IT Support company, we get a lot of questions about older software and operating systems.  Every few years software companies like Microsoft come out with new versions of their software and as they do, they will sunset older versions.  “Sunsetting” refers to the practice of no longer providing any upgrades or patches to the software making it progressively less safe, secure and effective as time passes.  In April, support for Office 2013 ended, and in October of 2023 Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 will no longer by supported.

Your server seems like it’s running fine, and your MS Office apps are still doing what they do.  So why is your IT Support company recommending you upgrade your servers and your MS Office Apps?

Cybersecurity Dangers of Unsupported Software

The most significant risk of using unsupported software is the exposure to security vulnerabilities.  As your IT Support provider, we use Remote Monitoring and Management tools (RMM) to make sure you stay up to date with upgrades and patches that keep your older servers running safely.  Once your software is no longer supported, these patches and upgrades are no longer available and we are unable to provide this level of IT support.  As this software ages, cybercriminals become more adept at exploiting its weaknesses.  Once the software is no longer being supported, your system is susceptible to these attacks.  With the increasing frequency and sophistication of cyberattacks, using unsupported software could lead to data breaches, malware infections, and unauthorized access to sensitive information.

Compliance and Regulation Issues

Using outdated software may result in compliance and regulation issues.  Many industries, such as healthcare, energy, and finance have strict data security regulations that require the use of up-to-date software to protect sensitive information.  Failing to comply with these regulations could result in legal and financial consequences.

Cybersecurity Insurance Issues

Cybersecurity Insurance has become a necessity in today’s dangerous cybercriminal landscape where each of us is at risk.  It is important to understand your cybersecurity insurance policy and what issues invalidate your coverage.  In many cases, use of unsupported systems or software may invalidate your insurance policy and leave you without financial protection from the effects of ransomware, viruses and other cybercriminal activity.

Compatibility with Newer Software

Another challenge is that these unsupported versions may not be compatible with newer file formats and collaboration tools.  As businesses and individuals adopt newer versions, compatibility issues can arise when sharing files or collaborating on documents.  This can lead to formatting errors, missing features, and an overall decrease in productivity.

Limited Features and Functionality

Microsoft and other IT Services providers continuously update their software to introduce new features and improvements that enhance user experience and productivity.  With older unsupported versions, you miss out on numerous advancements that newer versions offer.  Features like real-time collaboration, improved cloud integration, and enhanced data analysis tools may be absent in outdated software.

Reduced IT Support 

When Microsoft says their software is no longer supported, they mean it.  This means that neither you nor your IT Support provider can receive technical support from Microsoft on these products.  Without access to this IT Support, you may not be able to troubleshoot problems, leading to extended downtime, workflow disruptions, and lost data.

Your IT Support Provider Can Help

As your Denver IT Support Provider, we can help you make sure you are not putting yourself in danger’s way.  A well-planned replacement strategy for older software, hardware, and systems can allow you to protect your environment properly.  By planning and replacing your software and hardware on a scheduled basis, you can spread out these expenses and make sure your IT environment is up to date, compliant and safe. Contact us today to discuss how we can help your organization!