IT organizations are constantly evolving, whether it’s moving to the cloud or moving to an agile environment. They love to innovate, adopt new technologies, and create new ways of doing business. But as they move from one new thing to another, they can sometimes forget trailing infrastructure that may no longer be maintained by manufacturers, which generally only support a technology for a couple of years after its end-of-life (EOL) date.

Everything expires or becomes obsolete at some point. And with swiftly evolving technology, it’s easy to keep adding to the tech stack and forget about checking those expiration dates. Businesses have been in tech acquisition mode for decades, building their stacks, and innovations in technology have allowed businesses to supercharge their growth and potential.

Today, nearly all businesses have become tech companies. They are completely dependent on the technologies that keep them functioning day to day. The fact that a business ships furniture or supplies banking services is almost secondary to its technical capabilities. If a server went down or was hacked 20 years ago, you isolated it and shut it down. The business still functioned without the server. Furniture still shipped, and bank tellers could still cash checks.

Now, information technology is simply how we do business. One could argue that it is the business. If systems are down, businesses can’t operate. Without a doubt, technology is a marvel — until someone throws a monkey wrench into the works. People frequently don’t realize when those expiration dates have passed and that patches and updates are not being created to fix bugs, update features, and address new vulnerabilities.

EOL dates should be monitored closely to assure everything in a tech stack is still serving the business as intended. As fast as technology is evolving, so are the needs and requirements of a business, and unfortunately so are the capabilities of bad actors looking to exploit opportunities that hardware and software no longer supported by manufacturers provide.

When the bad guys find a point of weakness, whether it’s old software or an old switch connected to a network, they move fast to take advantage of that vulnerability and gain access to critical systems. While often thought of as an IT issue, cyberattacks can cripple operations and damage everything a brand has worked to build.

At Cisco, we partner with our customers to not only address EOL and risk but, to plan for future business requirements. We may not have all the data needed to foresee what’s coming and what a customer will need to address, but we have enough data to present an opinion and to be directionally correct. When we partner with a customer on creating those roadmaps, the customer provides the missing information and we can predict and plan with great accuracy.

At the end of the day, we want to present our customers with innovative strategies to not only update and secure their current systems but, to plan for the future of their business and achieve business objectives.

For Cisco, it’s not just about protecting businesses from bad actors — it’s also about helping businesses grow and reach their goals faster, in a more cost-efficient way, by programatizing lifecycle acceleration.

We want to see our customers achieve the platform of the future.

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Brad Mannal

Director of Professional Services

Global Enterprise