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How likely is your software to survive the recession?

(Chad Perrin, TechRepublic) A recession economy can affect more than just your employer’s revenue stream; it can also affect the software you use. It’s time to start thinking about how to minimize any negative effects that may have on your systems’ security. In today’s recession economy, IT industry companies may run into financial trouble. Many smaller software vendors are likely to fail or get swallowed up by larger vendors that have a different vision for the software they provide. Even larger organizations may cut major product lines, or perhaps even disappear entirely, if things get bad enough.

That may not affect most of us very much (aside from saturating the employment market with people in need of new jobs, I suppose), but it may more directly affect some of us. One such possible effect could be the loss of ongoing development and support for software that we use on a daily basis. Part of maintaining the security of our computers and networks is ensuring that security vulnerabilities are identified and fixed. Unfortunately, when the vendor of a closed source, proprietary piece of software disappears or ends support for the software, it’s not only difficult (in many cases effectively impossible) to get needed security patch support; it’s also illegal to do so.

As you consider future software deployment options, consider the likelihood the software will continue to receive support. Companies with large cash reserves such as Microsoft are more likely to survive the recession intact; software lines that are central to a company’s business model such as Adobe Photoshop are more likely to receive continued support; and, ultimately, popular open source projects are more likely on average to survive the recession intact than closed source software vendors, because their continued development is not as dependent on having a lot of disposable income.

Open source projects aren’t even dependent on any organization, because if current developers just give up on it, there’s nothing stopping others from picking up where they left off. In fact, as financial belts tighten, open source software projects may actually get stronger, as tighter finances create opportunities for more open source software deployments.

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