Your organization's users interact with different IT software platforms every single day, so it's important to ensure they are not playing a role in a potential security breach without even realizing it. If software end-of-life schedules aren't prioritized, these breaches could happen, which is why IT software life cycles must be top of mind to increase overall up-time and eliminate any possibility of a breach.
What does end of life really mean for software? How do end-of-life schedules impact the security of your organization? How can you implement application dependency planning to keep IT software life cycles at the top of your to-do list?
END-OF-LIFE SCHEDULES AND PROCESSES
End-of-life schedules are inevitable, all products have a supported life cycle where they will be the most protected and work more efficiently. These end-of-life schedules represent a period of time when a version of a software product is no longer supported, and security is no longer actively provided, to make room for the newer available versions. Once the end-of-life date of a product has arrived, the provider will no longer provide security patches or updates for that version, regardless if users are still utilizing it. Companies such as Cisco, VMware, and Microsoft release software end-of-life dates typically 18 months ahead of time so organizations can plan and budget for these changes.
When analyzing an entire IT environment, it's important to be prepared to transition with these end-of-life schedules. How can you prepare for potential upcoming changes? Start by mapping out all of the business-critical software platforms that are in use, and keep documentation of them so you know exactly what your organization's IT environment is working with at all times. Using this list, refer to the websites of any vendors used to figure out any deadlines that you must be aware of and keep an inventory of deadlines. Not only does this help you and your IT team to budget changes to your IT infrastructure ahead of time, it also allows your organization to be out in front of any security risk.
If you don't prioritize the life cycle of your IT software, there are significant security risks that can leave your IT environment exposed and vulnerable. According to Security Scorecard, out of 349 breached companies analyzed, 58% were found using products that had exceeded their end-of-life dates. A potential breach in your organization's IT security could occur if IT software life cycles aren't taken seriously. End-of-life dates are important to keep in mind because products don't immediately shut down once end-of-life is reached. The application will still work the same, but you will be vulnerable to exploits, and the software provider won't create any new patches to fix these potential security risks.
APPLICATION DEPENDENCY PLANNING
Application dependency planning helps manage all changes within an IT infrastructure, including changes regarding IT software life cycles. It's all about tracking how everything cohesively works together through an application within an operating system. This planning looks to see how applications can update and run within an operating system, making sure the entire application ecosystem is compatible. Tracking how everything cohesively operates helps to manage budget creation, timelines, and allows IT teams to make recommendations during quarterly planning. Working through these IT software requirements within an IT ecosystem helps to gather processes that can be used to benefit and support the entire environment, not to mention keep it protected in the process.
All in all, prioritizing software life cycles is just another way to be sure your IT environment is running as efficiently and securely as possible. For technology to support your organization in the most beneficial way, be sure to pay attention to end-of-life schedules and implement application dependency planning.
Want more advice on ways you can prepare your users to recognize a potential IT security breach?