Almost every year, IT departments have to worry about products that are going out of support. Some years are worse than others; when Windows XP and Windows 7 met their demise, they triggered mad scrambles in many shops, which included hardware changes and application upgrades as well as replacing the now-vulnerable operating systems.
Given that in most cases, users have plenty of warning, eyes should roll at the inevitable last-minute migrations. But as any IT pro knows, the world tends to get in the way of proactive migrations – budgets aren’t approved, planning doesn’t happen in a timely manner, other projects run late, something more critical blows up at exactly the wrong moment … you name it and it will happen. Result: occasional panic and lots of overtime.
Here’s a brief selection of some of the software that will need attention in the near future.
This year, one big thing that we’ve had three years to prepare for is the end-of-life for Adobe Flash on December 31, 2020. Not only is support for it terminating, but most browsers will also cease to support Flash as well, and as of January 12, 2021, Adobe blocked Flash content from running in the Flash Player. For the past few months, the company has also been pushing an uninstaller via its automatic update mechanism.
Adobe’s rationale for totally killing the product, according to the EoL announcement, is that open standards such as HTML5, WebGL, and WebAssembly have continually matured over the years and serve as viable alternatives for Flash content. Also, major browser vendors are integrating these open standards into their browsers and deprecating most other plug-ins (like Flash Player).
Anyone who’s been paying attention knows there were other, more compelling reasons, and many thought the phaseout took too long. The fact is, Flash was buggy and caused many security problems over the years, and Adobe was so intermittent in updating it that Microsoft actually took over pushing fixes out via Windows Update.
Adobe has transferred any further Flash support for enterprise customers to its official enterprise distribution partner, Harman, which will offer services including assisting in transition to other technologies.
Flash had a great run (we remember some of the Flash games with great affection), but it’s time to wave good-bye.
Google WebView sign-in
On January 4, 2021, Google blocked embedded WebView sign-in support for Google accounts to improve security. Using WebView, invited guest users can sign in and use shared Microsoft apps and resources using their Gmail accounts rather than being forced to create a Microsoft account. The change means that Chromium Embedded Framework (CEF) or any other automation platform will no longer be allowed for authentication. Google explains that this is to prevent man in the middle attacks which intercept communications between the user and Google and collect the user’s credentials.
Google has provided guidance for developers on how to set up OAuth flows to replace the WebView sign-in, and both Microsoft and Google recommend that customers test their apps for compatibility so there are no unpleasant surprises.
If you use one of Atlassian’s on-prem server products, brace yourself – it’s the beginning of the end. As of February 2, 2021, they will stop selling new licenses for their server products and cease new feature development in the server product line, switching to cloud versions. Server customers will have access to maintenance and support for an additional three years, ending February 2, 2024, but maintenance prices will increase. The company will, however, offer free cloud migration trials.
In addition, on May 1, 2021 new server apps will no longer be accepted for the Atlassian Marketplace. Existing customers can continue to purchase new Marketplace apps until February 2, 2023, however, after February 2, 2024, Marketplace apps will reach end of support.
Internet Explorer 11
You may have already noticed that IE 11 no longer functions in Microsoft Teams – support was dropped at the end of November. Beginning August 17, 2021, other Microsoft 365 apps and services will also drop IE 11 support.
IE 11 itself will continue to function because many enterprises still rely on IE 11 apps, but Microsoft is encouraging a move to its new Chromium-based Edge browser with IE mode.
Speaking of Edge, anyone clinging to the original version, now known as Microsoft Edge Legacy, will also need to upgrade to the Chromium-based product. Edge Legacy hits its EoL on March 9, 2021. Users on the latest versions of Windows 10 should have automatically received this update.
Microsoft has a herd of products ceasing support in 2021. On January 12, 2021, support ends for BizTalk Server 2010, Host integration Server 2010, and Microsoft Sync Framework 2.1. On April 13, 2021, it’s Lync Server 2010, Lync 2010, Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization 2.0, Windows Embedded Compact 7, SharePoint Server 2010 and its PerformancePoint Services, and Project Server 2010. In May, Windows 10 versions 1809 and 1909, and Windows Server 1909 will lose support. Check the website for the rest of the year’s support changes – there are a lot of them.