End of Life, to read the article title, probably makes you think of far worse things than software. But in this case, end of life means that particular software is no longer supported and will not be updated anymore.
As you may or may not know, as of April 2014, Microsoft will no longer support Windows XP. What this means there will be no new security patches, hotfixes or updates to the operating system. Even though many businesses still depend on Windows XP for their systems. This is a very common practice in software and happens all the time.
The common misconception is that once you buy or install your software you are good to go for the next 10 years. Which in the case of today’s software market that is simply not true. Many clients do not understand why they need to upgrade their software. Common response of a client when asked to upgrade their system is “Well I just bought it four years ago, why do I want a new one when this one is still working?”.
Security is a key factor to update before End of Life
The reason why you will need to upgrade, first is security. With an older version of software, for example let’s use a cart system for your website, over the years security flaws will get discovered by hackers to access your orders and information. While the cart is being supported, you can upgrade and patch these flaws to prevent that.
Another reason is servers and web code is always changing and upgrading, so your version of Cart 2.0 worked great five years ago, but now with HTML 5 and new servers it no longer works with that cart. Now I am not going to sugar coat it either, software companies make new releases to make money as well. It is their business model. But if you do not upgrade and keep using an unsupported end of life software, you are just waiting for things to stop working. And when that happens, you either can pay developers to do custom coding or just upgrade, either way you end up spending the money.
A good example of this is automobiles. You can buy a 1975 Ford Thunderbird right now, but Ford no longer makes part for it, and what you don’t find in a junkyard, you will have to pay a premium from 3rd parties or have it custom made. Software is the same way, you can use the old system and find some code on the internet to help it last longer, but eventually it breaks and have to pay a premium to a 3rd party to fix it because the software company does not support it.