Four modern risks of outdated software and how to prevent them

Untitled design 27 | Four modern risks of outdated software and how to prevent them
By Toby Lester | 7th August 2019 | 3 min read

Over 55% of the world’s software packages are out of date. That’s a staggering statistic. When you consider that this figure includes business-critical software, the implications are chilling.

According to Avast, this figure rises every year, gradually eroding organisations’ digital security.

If you allow software versions to stagnate, you will have unpatched vulnerabilities. At this point, it’s a question of when, not if, your system will be compromised.

Software updates are as inevitable as the setting sun and taxes, but you can fight back by being vigilant against this threat. Many businesses have also started to take a proactive approach by moving mission-critical functions to the cloud.

Don’t lay out a doormat for attackers

Having the latest software updates used to mean having the latest features; it was a nice thing to have. Nowadays, it’s crucial.

Out-of-date software is like an invitation to hackers and hijackers. Would you leave the front door of your home open? Why leave your organisation’s systems wide open?

Even worse, many organisations allow their operating systems to deprecate, which can put your entire business at risk of breaching compliance regulations, shouldering enormous financial damage, and even potentially destroying company reputation in a high-profile leak.

Here are the modern risks of not being up to date.

Mass disruption

If your business-critical services go down, it will have a knock-on effect on every part of your business.

Consider the NotPetya attacks of 2017, which crippled around a fifth of the entire world’s shipping capacity and caused more than $1,000,000,000 of damage. Every major cyberattack on this scale needs to exploit a vulnerability; in this case, it was a flaw in an old version of Microsoft Windows.

The same method of cyberattack that caused such a high level of global disruption can also be turned on your business, exploiting any software vulnerabilities that haven’t been patched out.

Data breaches and loss of data security

Nowadays, there’s a high-profile data breach every other week. These have disastrous consequences for both organisations and their end-users. Not only are users’ personal details stolen and sometimes even publically published, but organisations lose the faith that these users have built in their brand. This can also lead to costly fines due to breaking statutory compliance rules.

It’s no coincidence that the majority of high-profile data thefts involve outdated, insecure software.

Theft or extortion

Ransomware is prolific and can spread like wildfire throughout an organisation’s network. For example, during the worldwide May 2017 WannaCry attack, 67% of affected systems were running Windows 7 – an outdated, end-of-life software package. This left these systems wide open to attack.

Weakened productivity and lack of compatibility

Aside from the risk of malicious third-party attacks, outdated systems can cause damage to your company through a process of attrition. Software packages are often updated purely to improve or add new functionality; these small changes add up to large time savings over the scope of a large organisation.

In other words, if you don’t update your software, you’re lowering your staff’s productivity.

Updates are also pushed to improve compatibility with other software packages, making huge cost savings for businesses.

Risk prevention

Updating your software the traditional way is expensive and difficult. To overcome these operational difficulties, more and more organisations are moving their mission-critical software functions to the cloud.

With PS Cloud, your software will never become outdated, as it’s automatically updated. As you can log in to PS Cloud from any location and on any device while still accessing the same software, there’s no chance your users will encounter out-of-date software.

Futureproof your organisation’s software security with PS Cloud. Get in touch with us to organise a free demo.