With Microsoft about to pull the plug on two of its highly popular solutions – Office 2007 and Exchange 2007 – companies who rely on either or both of these programs may be wondering what action they should take. Whilst it is certainly possible to continue using both solutions after support ceases, this may not be the wisest approach to take. A number of issues can arise when using out-of-support software.
Companies that are concerned with cybersecurity should be cautious about using software that is no longer supported. In fact, many security breaches occur due to just this phenomenon. With security patches no longer being added, out-of-support solutions are subject to cyberattacks from hackers who know they can take advantage of software flaws without having to worry that a patch will be issued to address the issue. SMEs should be especially cautious about using such software, given that they usually don’t have the staff or resources to maintain their own IT department to deal with any security issues that arise. Rather than risking the significant damage that can be caused by a security breach, they would be better served by upgrading to supported software which substantially reduces their chances of being hacked.
Above and beyond the issue of security is the productivity drag that can result from using software that is no longer supported. Microsoft’s Office and Exchange solutions have been upgraded significantly since they were released in 2007. Whilst the 2007 versions may be functional, given the major steps that have been made in improving these solutions over the past few years, upgrading to the latest version can offer enhanced functionality. This is a major factor given the rapidity of technological change in the modern business world. New features are added to most software products on a regular basis – out-of-support products which are no longer being upgraded can quickly become outdated in terms of functionality, hindering productivity as a result.
Whilst upgrading either Office or Exchange individually is certainly an option, a budget friendly option for companies looking to use a number of business tools is to purchase a productivity bundle such as Microsoft Office 365, which is a cost-effective method of gaining access on a yearly basis to the latest versions of Office and many other Microsoft productivity-enhancing tools. One advantage of this approach, aside from the ability to buy access to a wide variety of programs at a reasonable price, is that the solutions contained in the bundle never go out of support – upgrades to the latest versions are included within the monthly or yearly fees.
When Office 2007 and Exchange 2007 go off support in 2017, businesses using these solutions should carefully consider their options. For a variety of reasons, continuing to use the outdated versions is not likely to be the optimal approach. Aside from the security concerns associated with doing so, the productivity hit from continuing to use the old versions can also be substantial. If your company is using either solution, consider upgrading to a bundled software package as a way to access Office and Exchange along with a variety of other business productivity tools.