Software vendors usually give their customers ample time to shift to a new operating system (OS) before sunsetting support for the old one. If you are fortunate, providers extend their deadlines to accommodate heavy customer demand, or ask people to pay extra (and often exorbitant) fees to continue receiving patches for the old OS.
But why let your business rely on something as fickle as luck? In the end, the money you’ll pay in fees would have been better spent on a new OS, anyway.
Alternatively, you can choose to do away with vendor support, but this is ill-advised. No support means no security updates, no bug fixes, and no new features and skills that can contribute to productivity.
No security updates
If you work in industries where data security is highly regulated, keeping your old operating system may get you into deep legal trouble, as you’ll leave yourself wide open to cyberattacks. Severe legal penalties and civil lawsuits await those who do not attain regulatory compliance and suffer data breaches. Just recently, for instance, a class-action lawsuit has been initiated against the co-operative financial group Desjardins because it failed to protect the personal and financial information of more than 2.9 million members.
And even if your organization does not belong in financial services, healthcare, and other tightly regulated industries, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) requires businesses of all types to:
- Report to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada data breaches that may put individuals in harm’s way;
- Notify those affected; and
- Record all instances of data security breaches.
Failure to comply with this law will result in heavy fines.
Beyond all of that, letting data breaches happen is a surefire way to lose customers’ confidence in you. In short,you're only inviting disaster when you fail to upgrade your operating system as soon as the latest version becomes available.
No bug fixes
Functionalities that don't work as expected are called bugs. New ones are constantly discovered by developers and are fixed via patches. Without these bug fixes, problems between your OS and its applications may accumulate, especially if the latter receive updates that make them backwards-incompatible with your outdated OS.
More often than not, you will be forced to refrain from updating software programs just to be able to continue using them. This means that you'll eventually lose support for these as well.
You may think that you're saving money by not spending on OS upgrades, but the technical debt you’ll accrue will lead to process inefficiencies that will cost you tens of thousands of dollars down the line.
No new features
Why make work harder for employees when the point of having IT is letting them work as efficiently and effectively as possible? An OS upgrade can mean quicker start-ups, easier-to-use interfaces, a plethora of new and useful apps, enhanced data security, and extra functionalities for touch screens, speech recognition, and other forms of input.
Being left behind tech-wise can also mean greater difficulty when working with clients and business partners who have chosen to be current. The hassles that incompatibilities and inefficiencies will bring may force customers and suppliers to switch to your competitor.
No new skills
Lastly, upgrading your operating system can mean new competencies for your staff who may otherwise feel stunted in their roles. Employee training must go together with OS upgrades to help your staff feel relevant, useful, and valued by your company.
Do note that people are generally resistant to change, even if that change is beneficial to them. Staff members might undergo training begrudgingly because it will take time away from their regular tasks, so proper implementation is key to avoiding production delays.
Related article: Challenges of an organization-wide PC operating system update
Beyond lack of support
It's highly likely that you will purchase new computers to replace old ones or to add to your existing setup. When you eventually do so, you may be forced to buy into the new operating system if you get machines with the latest processors. The upkeep of multiple operating systems will needlessly eat into your system administrators’ time. Furthermore, staff who use different operating systems and outdated applications may experience friction when collaborating with one another. With all things considered, having the latest operating system is simply the best case scenario for your organization.
The temptation to leave operating system upgrade tasks on the back burner is overwhelming at times. . By resisting it, you can position your organization for success. To keep your tech up to date, turn to XBASE Technologies. Leave us a message to learn more about cost-effective software systems management and the other Exponentially Better™ IT services we can provide for you.
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