Why Running an Unsupported OS Is a Terrible Idea

CentOS reaches the end of its life cycle in November. The question that organizations that run it and other operating systems that have reached (or are approaching) their end-of-life is this: what will happen if we continue to run this OS?

Here are a few reasons why running an OS at the end of its service life is a dangerous idea.

Hackers Will Exploit Unpatched Vulnerabilities.

Vulnerabilities get exposed on a near-daily basis on operating systems that still have years of service life left in them. These OSes get updates the minute they discover such a vulnerability.

If your OS doesn’t get these security updates regularly, all the password managers, VPNs, and authentication methods in the world won’t stop criminals from hacking into your server.

If you stay with an outdated OS, criminals will hack your server. Once this happens, word will get out, and your customers won’t feel safe doing business with you; they will work with a company that values data security enough to update their systems to keep customer data safe.

Unknown Vulnerabilities Stay Unknown To the Vendor.

When your vendor no longer supports your server’s OS, it has zero incentive to stay on top of vulnerabilities that plague it or patch it once it gets brought to their attention.

These vulnerabilities stay unknown to the admins, but dark web hackers find them and share their knowledge on the dark web.

Recent Applications Won’t Run On Older OSes.

Just as admins don’t have any incentive to maintain security support for an end-of-life OS, third-party developers also have no incentive to launch their software.

Also, third-party developers add more features to their current apps, which boosts their minimum requirements. Over time, the most up-to-date version of these apps may run slowly or not at all.

If you have any mission-critical apps that you must use for your business, upgrade your OS immediately, or run the risk of having that application die when you need it most.

You Will Face Compliance Issues Galore.

If your business is in an industry like healthcare and e-commerce, you deal with a ton of sensitive customer data.

Entrusting your customers’ data to an end-of-life OS that has more than ten years on it is a great way to face huge fines, shutdowns, and even a stay in jail.

Securely running your server (and everything that relies on it) on an end-of-life OS is impossible, and not ever worth the risks that come with such a careless act. You may not be ready to change out your OS, but you need to make yourself ready.

Complacency in this critical area will cause you an avalanche of problems shortly. Upgrade your OS, join the civilized world, and keep your customers’ data safe.