Our connected world enhances productivity but also enhances risk. Protecting data is a modern battleground with organizations under attack every day. To best defend themselves, organizations must take every step to ensure its infrastructure is properly configured, deployed and maintained. If they don’t it isn’t a matter of if they will be attacked, but when.
Surprisingly, one of the biggest vulnerabilities is one of the easiest to address – outdated software. There are several inherent risks and security vulnerabilities associated with using unsupported or outdated software and all too often successful attacks prey on these gaps. Failure to maintain software could impact organizations in one or more ways:
- Data security. One of the major risks is associated around document security, which leaves you vulnerable to security breaches and open to compliance violations with potential fines. 96% of outdated software has serious security vulnerabilities that could pose to be major risks to your organization.
- Business disruptions. Connected devices are increasingly important to workers and organizations alike—which means that a virus on such a device could cause a major business disruption.
- 3rd party risk: While it’s critical to look within organizations for outdated systems, it’s just as important to assess third-party For example, if a vendor manages critical data for your business and accesses your network using an outdated browser, that vendor could be inadvertently exposing you (or your customers’) data to risk.
- System failure. If and when a system failure occurs, an organization can be left with no second or third level support. 70% to 80% of the top 10 malware can be detected by the latest software.
- Increased costs. Using outdated or unsupported software increases infrastructure costs and lowers worker productivity. Software older than 4 years can cost $840 per employee per year in lost productivity.
- Future functionality limitations. Unsupported and outdated software leads to future limitations and lost productivity due to antiquated workflows and processes. 57% of consumers agree that businesses that use modern technology are more competitive.
Best practices for upgrading.
Upgrading software can be a time-consuming process requiring significant resources. But as previously stated, upgrading is a crucial step to safeguarding an organization’s IT environment and shouldn’t be overlooked. Upgrading also provides a much more secure and an overall better product with new features and enhancements. When upgrading, leverage these common best practices:
- Check compatibility. Software compatibility is a critical component of the upgrade process. Therefore, before upgrading, the new version needs to be checked to ensure that it can operate with other peer and dependent software within the enterprise.
- Involve your vendor: Upgrading with direct involvement from the vendor’s services team helps reduce risk by utilizing the vendor’s expertise with their software and experience with performing upgrades.
- Leverage vendor specific migration tools. Whenever possible, leverage software migration tools provided by vendors to assist with the upgrade process.
- Plan, test and execute. Upgrading enterprise software can be complex and requires process and planning; it needs to be treated and managed as a project. If a software provider offers upgrade packages and resources to assist in upgrading, take advantage of them to make the upgrade more seamless and minimize the impact on day-to-day business activities.
- Perform pre-upgrade and post-upgrade tasks. Prior to upgrading your existing software, ensure the software environment is ready to upgrade and the organization has the appropriate resources assigned to assist. Additionally, once the upgrade process is complete, organizations should test the software to ensure the upgrade process didn’t have any unintended consequences.
Future-proof your investment.
It is essential to keep software systems up to date as new releases can enhance organizational performance, and drive productivity. Further, up-to-date software helps ensure business critical and sensitive information remains secure, mitigating the risk of security breaches, compliance violations, fines and reputation damage.
At Nuance, we understand how important it is for organizations to maintain security, which is why we are currently working with our customers to upgrade their Nuance Equitrac investment from version 4 to version 5. We want to help them leverage their support investment with us before it expires so they can take advantage of all the new features, enhancements, and benefits.