What is Technology End of Life?
Technology end-of-life is an important aspect for anyone who owns a computer or is responsible for a computer network. It essentially means that a piece of software or hardware is in its final stages of existence and needs to be replaced soon, if it hasn’t been already. The manufacturers of the software/hardware will no longer offer any type of support for end-of-life products past a date that they determine. This generally happens when the software/hardware is obsolete or has been replaced by something better.
Why End-of-Life Matters to You
Not replacing End-of-Life (EOL) technology could pose substantial security risks. If the software/hardware that is being phased out is not upgraded, any software patches, bug fixes, and security upgrades will stop. The software companies or hardware manufacturers who once offered support for their technology will suspend that support – leaving you with no place to turn for help. While this puts any one of us at risk, the risk is even greater for organizations that must comply with government or industry regulations – think financial institutions or organizations that contract with government agencies.
In addition to the security risk of not replacing EOL technology, individuals and businesses may face considerable downtime if a problem occurs. Consider a business who opts not to replace their email software that has passed its end-of-life date. When the next computer issue arises, they will contact their IT vendor for help. At this point, the vendor will advise them that the software is outdated and must be upgraded. The IT vendor will provide the business with a quote for the new software and the labor to get it installed and configured – for every employee. They will work to get the upgrade project scheduled but it may be a few weeks’ time.
Could you live without your email for a few weeks? I know I couldn’t! Not only will this business face downtime that will be hard to recoup, they will also incur an unexpected IT expense – all of which could have been avoided with proper planning.
Technology Reaching its End-of-Life in 2017
The beginning of the year is always a good time to check in with your IT vendor to see what, if any, of the software or hardware you have may be reaching its end-of-life. In 2017, Microsoft Office 2007 is going away. If you consider how much technology has changed since its design, it’s easy to understand why. In its place, Microsoft now offers Office 365, a cloud-based powerhouse office suite that provides features and benefits we couldn’t even imagine 10 years ago!
Other common technology that will reach EOL this year:
- Cisco 2800 series routers and 5500 series firewalls
- VMWare 5.0 and 5.1
It’s important not to wait until the last minute. By taking a proactive approach to replacing end-of-life technology, you could be avoiding potential security risks, unexpected IT costs and downtime. Have a plan in place on your timeline and within your budget.