Everything has its time and place - your business software is no exception to the rule. While there's still a place in business for legacy software and classic programs, there inevitably comes a time when you'll need to upgrade or switch the apps your employees use daily.
Older programs may run slowly, glitch, or not work at all on modern operating systems (OS), might lack better, easier to use, and more relevant features from later releases, or become dated and irrelevant to modern business. It's much harder to find support, upgrades, and fixes for ageing software, too.
Upgrades don't necessarily need to be cutting edge - just more recent, compatible, and functional with your current tech. Here are our top five reasons as to why you should keep your company software up to date to get the best return on investment (ROI).
1) Crashes and System Downtime
Today, digital technology is in a constant state of flux. Subtle changes between OS builds (especially Windows XP to later editions, including 10) can cause unexpected faults, compatibility errors, runtime hangs, and outright crashes.
The coding 'under the bonnet' sometimes struggles to make sense of changed drivers, registry entries, and the physical architecture of the computer. While compatibility modes and ports do exist, they tend to reduce the overall performance of the software. You may also struggle to transfer and load files between more modern installations and your outdated version.
Upgrading to a later edition can save you vast amounts of wasted time and prevent deep frustration.
2) Increased Costs
Running software past its sell-by date carries hidden costs, too. If you want to add functionality, integrate it into another build or system, or update it to reduce security flaws, you'll have to pay for your own software development and bespoke, tailored support.
Paid support is commonplace for legacy networks 'too big to fail' (particularly those using Windows XP SP3), but it's horrendously expensive for smaller businesses. Avoid custom payments if possible. Upgrading to the latest off-the-shelf release of the software you need provides access to scheduled updates, verified tech support, and guaranteed OS compatibility.
3) Decreased Productivity
Software companies are always working to improve their flagship products, adding new functionality and features to their latest releases. Long-term, this can damage productivity - tiny amounts of wasted time stacking up into nasty headaches. You might be missing out on some critical tools and time-saving utilities by choosing to stick with an older release.
4) Security Holes and Zero-Day Exploits
Simply put, the longer a piece of software exists for, the longer hackers and scammers have to find every backdoor, glitch, and flaw in the build. Long-running software (such as XP) creates opportunities for criminals to install malware and hijack your data.
While you can negate this with regular updates and patches, those may not be available immediately for older software - particularly for specialised or obscure releases. If your Internet-facing software isn't receiving regular attention, it's time to upgrade.
5) Legal and Regulatory Compliance Risks (GDPR)
As of 2018, it's a legal requirement under the General Data Protection Act (GDPR) to offer your customers a good standard of data protection and backups. Despite Brexit, like-for-like legislation also applies to all UK businesses trading with or within the EU.
Older database and encryption programs might not meet current standards - meaning you could be liable for fines or prosecution in the event of a breach. It's just good practice to keep security measures up-to-date, regardless of any penalties.
Software Upgrades and Support from TMB
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