The Dangers of Running Outdated and Unpatched Software

The Dangers of Running Outdated and Unpatched Software
February 2, 2023

The Dangers of Running Outdated and Unpatched Software

Your software is only as good as its last update or patch. Reaching End of Life (EoL) means critical patches and updates are no longer available, leaving you highly vulnerable to a wide variety of issues.

Some business professionals make the mistake of not prioritizing upgrading their software because it is still functional. The problem is that outdated software can lead to security risks, data loss, compliance issues and more.

In this blog, we will discuss the primary implications of running outdated software and explain why it’s crucial to take action when your software reaches EoL or EoS.

Issues related to the use of outdated software

The implications of running outdated software can be segmented into three categories: 

Security implications

Using outdated software can have severe security implications, such as:

  • Your software no longer receives security patches from a vendor, leaving your system vulnerable to known exploits. 
  • Threat actors may have already reverse-engineered the software and developed exploit code, making it easier for them to compromise your system. 
  • Running outdated software may cause compatibility issues with other software and hardware, leading to data loss or corruption. 
  • Using outdated software may violate your organization's security policies, hindering a secure future and operational excellence.

Privacy implications

Privacy implications of using outdated software can be severe. If the software is no longer supported by its vendor and contains sensitive information, you could be at risk of receiving a data privacy fine. 

For example, in the United States, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is taking action against Chegg Inc. for failing to patch vulnerabilities that exposed sensitive information about millions of its customers and employees, such as Social Security numbers, email addresses and passwords. Chegg allegedly couldn’t address problems despite four security breaches over a five-year period. 

According to the FTC's order, the company must quickly address vulnerabilities and take additional action steps, such as limiting the amount of data they can collect and retain, providing users with multi factor authentication to secure their accounts, and allowing users to access and delete their data.*

Productivity implications

Outdated software can have severe productivity implications for a business. For example, if the software runs slowly, crashes frequently or is otherwise difficult to use, it can frustrate employees and disrupt workflows. This can, in turn, lead to a poor customer experience, damaging a company's reputation and bottom line. Therefore, it is important to keep software up to date to avoid these problems.

Collaborate for success

You’ve already taken the first step toward securing your company by recognizing the dangers of using outdated software. However, mitigating the above implications may be a heavy lift for you since you'll have to set aside extra time and effort while running an organization. Partnering with an IT service provider like us can ease your worry.

To protect your business, we can help you identify outdated software and hardware. We can keep you up to date on the latest security threats and how to mitigate them. We can also update your systems to the latest versions to ensure the best possible protection. For a consultation, feel free to contact us.



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