Microsoft offer a massive range of software products, and periodically, older software stops receiving support. In many cases you can still use those software versions, it will become less effective, and could also open you up to security issues. The products that are reaching end of life, are predominantly the 2013 applications. This is for both applications and servers. The list of announced end of life products is below.
If you are using any of the listed software products, then you will be affected. These products will no longer be updated, meaning they will not have the latest security updates applied. These vulnerabilities will make them more susceptible to cyber-attacks. This is not the only major issue, older software doesn’t get usability updates, which makes them perform worse than their newer counterparts. Eventually, for document creation software such as word, newer software versions might not be able to open these older documents. If you don’t update your records to newer file types, you could lose this data. When a company discontinues a product, this also means they stop support for it. If something goes wrong with that product, your support options are severely limited.
If you are already using some form of managed IT service, your provider will most likely be able to help you with the changeover. If your company doesn’t use an IT service management company, there are things you can do.
The simplest, but not the most cost effective, you can upgrade your Office 2013 package to one of the latest versions, or subscribe to the Office 365 subscription. This option will incur monthly costs, but will eliminate the issue going forward, as you will always have the latest version.
For smaller businesses that need to be more cost focused, you can look at alternative versions of the software you use. Google offers a suite of productivity apps that are free, but you need to check it is right for you.
If you have important data stored in the discontinued software, you'll need to consider how to migrate it to a different product. This may involve exporting the data and importing it into a new program, or using a third-party tool to convert it.
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