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The risks of unsupported software

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Does your organization currently use Windows 98? Does your company plan to upgrade before Microsoft discontinues support? Do you think that unsupported software carries additional security risks? Share your comments about the risks of obsolete and unsupported software, as discussed in the Jan. 19 Internet Security Focus e-newsletter.

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who says obsolete??

by shiny_topadm In reply to The risks of unsupported ...

In an industrial setting, we still use many "486" processors, ISA buss devices, in boxes running DOS or Win3.1. These haven't been supported by the manufacturers for a long time, but then they're not connected to my network or the internet, either. There are many cases that the latest and greatest don't apply: we support ourselves working on automotive electronics products and sometimes have to maintain 10 (or more) years old devices that won't work with newer pcs. I have to think that someone at M/S knows that and perhaps that contributed to their recent recant of the Win98 end-of-life. Not all of "society" is ready to adopt the replace-every-three-years model that some would want us to!

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Use Free/Libre Open Source Software

by felipe_alfaro In reply to The risks of unsupported ...

Our company uses no propietary software at all.

On the past, we used Microsoft software and we
were continuously facing problems like security
breaches and bugs. Moreover, Microsoft was
continuously trying to get more income by
forcing us to upgrade to new software versions,
even when we already got used to what we had: if
we had Exchange Server 5.5, Microsoft was able
to force us to upgrade to 2000 or 2003 by
discontinuing support, by not selling licenses
any more, etc. They were forcing us to upgrade
to Windows 2000 Server and take our way into
Active Directory. We are a small company and
don't need all the bells and whistles of a
propietary directory like that.

We turned to Free/Libre Open Source Software. As
the source code is open and free, we aren't
forced to upgrade. If a security vulnerability
is discovered, either the manufacturer, the
distributor, ourselves or anyone out there can
provide us with a patch. The patch can be
reviewed if considered appropiate, since it must
be distributed in source code. We can perform
security audits by looking directly at the code,
instead of just believing that the software is
just secure (which is not), we can just
implement new features, or just develop glue
code to make all building blocks interoperate
together.

All in all, as we don't need expensive software
solutions like those provided by Bea WebLogic or
Oracle's RDBMS, we are sticking with FLOSS. We
keep saving money, we keep saving headaches, and
what's more important, we keep things running.
We have eliminated software upgrades dictated
and forced by that nice monopolistic company,
and we can ride our data center at the pace we
want.

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Valid points to each argument

by j.g.camp In reply to Use Free/Libre Open Sourc ...

Sometimes running your business on 486's and Windows 3.1 or 98 is counter to growth of the company. Imagine your employees going to best buy or CompUSA and getting home systems that **** away what their employers put on their desks @ work. Comparatively, you're wasting their time if the tasks they have to perform are intensive. Now a days, hardware upgrades at least are dirt cheap. Software as well, Windows 2000 Pro or XP are so much more stable than 98 and so on. The articles author has points, and you guys have points on what procedures and things you have to support. But 486's please, I would be for finding a new job elsewhere, the technology lag is enough to know that the company thinks that it's employees should waste their time waiting. Labor is the expensive commodity in this equation. Besides, how many times does Windows 98 have to crash before you realize that a lot of work was lost and more time wasted. AMD is the business solution, not Intel for the fastest and cheapest solution, however, a company could still get some fast Intel based hardware for very little as well.

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We will prefer Windows 98 for compatibility

by dhandip In reply to The risks of unsupported ...

We are one of leading share broker firm in India. We have our main software (that generates Bills & other things) running in DOS mode. As of now these software is still majorly used by stock broker. So to keep DOS mode compitibility, we have to use windows 98.

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The pain of older versions

by techrepublic In reply to The risks of unsupported ...

Our organization doesn't currently use Windows
98 inhouse, however, we have the unfortunate
duty to maintain those clients for our customers.

I am faced daily with the headache of trying to
manage Win98 computers for my customers. These
machines are generally the ones that are least
compatible with the rest of the network, have the
least support from third party vendors (because
they are busy developing the drivers/software for
the latest versions of Windows) and are most
insecure. All these factors contribute to an
increase in my time, which translate into a
higher bill for the customer in the end, not
to mention less secure systems.

I feel the days of the raw software upgrade are almost
at an end. From a business perspective it makes
just as much sense for them to upgrade the entire
machine and receive a copy of the latest Windows
OS with it. This gives them the latest and greatest
OS from Microsoft as well as (usually) a much
faster machine.

If you factor in the additional time it takes a
person to manage these older beasts as well as
the risk factor involved with a (more or less)
unsupported operating system, the cost benefit
analysis quickly reveals that upgrading is
the most beneficial, and usually lease expensive
choice. It is also almost always the most
secure choice.

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