Keep your Software Up-to-Date!

Do you know what software you are running?  How much of your business, or business process, relies upon the applications software that you use on a daily basis?

Many businesses buy software to support their business and think that it can be forgotten until a new function is needed or something more shiny and cost-effective comes along.  Like anything else in your business, your software needs to be looked after to avoid needing the tow truck or ambulance on your doorstep.  How many businesses have a timebomb in their midst?

I’ve had a couple of clients this week who were not just one release of software out of date but several.  Not even a reasonable number but a silly number!  One was running software which was 4 major releases old!  Not unexpectedly, when the client tried to update to the latest version, they had problems.  They also hadn’t kept their support and maintenance contract current and were significantly out of warranty.

Generally speaking, software manufacturers support the current and current-1 versions of their code.  With the variety of platforms and operating systems in the market now, this is not unreasonable.

If your software applications are important to your business, then you need to protect them and make sure that you can continue to run them.  Make an inventory of all of the software you use and understand what’s involved in keeping it current.  This should be considered part of your “total cost of ownership”.

If you have locally installed software, make sure that you have a current support and maintenance contract with your software provider.

If your applications run in the cloud (SaaS), this is as important but the service/software provider will generally apply necessary updates for you as part of your SaaS package.  Check with them to make sure.  In either case, make sure that you have a support and maintenance contract (may be part of your Service Agreement) in place so that, should things go wrong, you have someone to talk to to resolve the issue you are experiencing.

Most problems are experienced by those with locally installed software.  Basically, they just install and forget – until it fails!  Then it’s panic all round and finger pointing within their business and at the software provider.  If you don’t have a support and maintenance contract in place and have ignored notifications from your software provider regarding updates, then, depending on the gap between your current software and the latest version (or version-1), there may not be an easy path available to you to bring things up to date and there is a potential that you’ll lose data.  There may be no update path at all!

Here at IITC, we strongly recommend that businesses understand what software they have and what’s needed to keep it in peak operating condition.  We always recommend service and maintenance contracts for those with local installations and businesses should make sure that SaaS contracts include support and maintenance provisions or options.  Think of it as a software insurance policy and part of everything else you do to protect your business operations.

If you need help with your software audit and inventory and would like to talk about protecting your business operations, please drop us a line!

Don’t be caught out! Make sure that your software is kept up-to-date or run the risk of your business being significantly damaged!