Continuous development of digital technologies brings dozens of benefits both for businesses and ordinary people. For example, the luxury of watching your favourite TV shows on any device in your possession no longer seems unusual. But, on the other hand, businesses from different industries can rely on dozens of specialized software solutions available on the market when it comes to workflow improvement, task scheduling, efficient employee management, optimization of document flow, and many other things.
However, it’s important to remember that the more we trust the software we use, the higher the stakes we’ll have to deal with. The use of outdated software can lead to multiple significant risks, not only affecting the reputation of your company but also calling into question its very existence under a particular course of circumstances. Cybercriminals wishing to obtain valuable data using software vulnerabilities do not sit idly by.
Software developers are well aware of these vulnerabilities and do their best to provide their customers with timely updates. But, unluckily, 95% of websites still use outdated software, potentially leading to unwanted consequences. To help you better understand the possible dangers of using outdated software systems for your business, we’ll take a look at some of the most common risks you can face if you ignore regular updates.
Common Issues That Outdated Software Can Cause
It’s important to understand that using outdated software in business won’t necessarily lead to a cinematic situation when a hacker is sitting in a dark room trying to steal your secrets. In most cases, you’ll face something more ordinary yet unpleasant such as a decrease in performance leading to delays in work. However, if you have even the slightest doubt whether the described problems related to outdated software apply to you, probably, it’s time to contact a company providing software modernization services.
Constant Crashes and Downtime of the System
Outdated software crashes are one of those risks that can affect both your employees’ productivity (if an ERP system won’t work for a long time) and your clients who may lose the opportunity to order goods and services online, for example. Nowadays, there’s no shortage of companies providing similar services. That’s why besides the uniqueness of your product, the speed of interaction with clients also plays a vital role.
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If you face an extended system downtime due to the use of outdated software and can’t provide your current and potential clients with what they need, it may cause the risk of some irreparable damage. You can be sure that a competitor is waiting for them “around the corner” with an online ordering system working flawlessly. Thus, while you thought it’s a wise decision to save money by delaying the upgrade, you were actually getting closer to the moment when a group of customers would turn their backs on you.
Increased Maintenance Costs
Maintaining the outdated software solution can be as expensive as retaining a century-old vehicle. It still can do its job, but every day, the risk of irreparable breakdown is increasing. It’s important to understand that just as you run the risk of missing parts for your old car, you run the risk of running out of developer support for a particular technology. If you neglect the periodic updates of your software, at some point, you face a situation when there’s no other choice rather than completely replacing your outdated system with a new one.
In such a case, imagine how harmful for your company it’ll be to spend time and resources on finding a reliable software development company that has enough experienced specialists in its possession. Instead of being focused on business-related tasks, you will have to spend time solving a bunch of technical problems. Besides, you will be deprived of access to your business software system all this time, which brings additional risks of losing clients.
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Outdated Software Slows Down Your Employees
Time spent on waiting for a laggy page of a web application to load is wasted time. Your employee who can’t wait to embody the brightest business idea risks losing all the enthusiasm in a second due to a laggy or hung application. Outdated software runs slower, takes longer to perform required tasks, and also can bring some psychological pressure on your employees.
The risks that such an unpleasant state of affairs may entail are more tangible than you might think. Seconds and minutes of everyday waiting caused by the use of the outdated system can turn into multiple days or even a week per calendar year. Imagine how fascinating it would be to spend all these days on something beneficial. On the other hand, a software system that works flawlessly can increase your company’s revenue and ROI. If you update your software regularly, you can avoid the risk of pushing your employees to play minesweeper instead of working while waiting for an online spreadsheet app to load.
Your Business Secrets Are No Longer Yours
Building a successful business requires trust from customers and responsibility from the business owners. When your clients order something online, they share some private information and expect you to be responsible enough to do your best to keep them safe. But here’s some bad news. Under certain conditions, your outdated software can turn into a “whistleblower” just waiting for the right moment to share all your secrets with the whole world.
For a cybercriminal, the shortest way to your business data lies through your disregard for security updates. Most malicious software targets outdated systems to exploit well-known vulnerabilities, the correction of which is only a matter of due attention to this problem. Thus, if you or your IT department specialists ignore multiple warnings informing about the need to update, there is no one to blame but yourself. In a blink of an eye, you can lose strategic data and sensitive information on your clients and business companions, leading to severe reputational damage. In the worst-case scenario, you risk losing your own company. According to the statistics, 60% of small companies close after hacker attacks and data breaches.
Increased Risks of Non-compliance with Legal and Regulatory Standards
Even if you don’t own a multi-billion dollar transnational company, it doesn’t mean that you’re immune to the risks of being fined by the authorities for not following the regulations and using outdated software. Say, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act adopted by the US Congress in 1996 clearly describes some software security regulations mandatory for any company, large or small.
For example, to comply with these regulations, your software system must track logins, log-offs, the activity of all the system users, sessions, and changes made to the personal profiles. Therefore, if you work in the healthcare industry and haven’t updated your software systems in years, there’s the risk that it’s not eligible for use in the US territory. To protect yourself from unwanted consequences of using outdated software, consult with specialists and perform a full assessment of all your systems to evaluate any possible regulatory compliance issues and make updates accordingly.
Nowadays, digital technologies provide us with new possibilities and determine the way we live, work, and entertain ourselves. From a business point of view, it means that to maintain your competitive edge, you have to run fast enough to keep up with constantly evolving technology. The use of outdated software may not be an obvious source of problems. After all, if it works, it works. Customers receive their goods and services, and you make everything possible to keep them satisfied and smiling. However, the truth is that multiple software vulnerabilities hidden from the untrained eye can be sources of severe risks and even cost you your business.
If you feel that one of the described issues concerns your business, feel free to contact us and receive a consultation on software modernization from our specialists.