Free Software for Business | Risks and Benefits

What applications do you use for your day-to-day operations? And how do they help optimize your business activity? Every business is different and has different uses for certain software. That is why you will see that some software is best used for one company and not the other. 

Are you able to collaborate with coworkers? How secure is your information? Free software could be beneficial in a sense of cutting costs, yet, it may not be the most ideal. Free software for businesses can cause compatibility issues with other programs. Making it difficult to communicate and perform other daily tasks. On another note, using free applications such as Gmail and Yahoo are great for personal use. But, as for professional use, your business could be at risk for liability issues. Free applications rarely have any kind of warranty or guarantee that you are safe from bugs. This could lead to the loss of sensitive client and or business information. That in turn affects the reputation and level of professionalism of your company. In some cases, this could be difficult to overcome and leaves your business in a vulnerable state. 

Now that we have discussed some of the risks, free software does have its benefits. Free software for businesses is easy to use and does not need updates on the users’ end. Not to mention, it’s free! Users have the freedom to explore the applications without locking into subscriptions. This gives users the flexibility to choose the right software for their business.

What is Open Source software? 

Open source software is free applications that are transparent to the public. It’s maintained by designers, engineers, and developers. These contributors can make improvements to the design and function of an application. In open source software consumers are responsible for issues present. Unlike commercial software, vendors are responsible for responding to issues. Open source software can perform operations for businesses for little to no cost. A few examples include Firefox, OpenOffice, and GIMP

Open Source Benefits and Risks

Open Source software provides a convenient solution to meet business needs. Especially for businesses that are trying to keep operating costs low. You may want to think twice about how open source software programs are putting you at risk. For example, business functions such as payroll hold sensitive employee information. This includes addresses, bank information, and social security numbers. Open Source vulnerabilities include lack of security, compatibility issues, and lack of warranty. With that said, there is no guarantee that your business operations are secure. Because community members of open source software are volunteers. They hold no obligations to protect users nor are they liable for any issues that may occur.

Benefits of Using Free Software

  • Flexible
  • Cost-Effective
  • Easy to use
  • No lock-in subscriptions
  • Transparency

Risks of Using Free Software

  • Lack of security
  • Liability Issues
  • Lack of warranty
  • Operational Insufficiencies
  • Poor developer practices

Free Software for Business FAQs

Is free software secure?

Yes, generally free software is secure. Contributors from all over the world collaborate and work out any bugs the program may have. Because the number of contributors is so broad this can mean that bugs get fixed faster. 

Can open source software be hacked?

Yes. In some cases, open source software is more susceptible to cyber-attacks. It depends on the size of the community associated with an open source project. For example, a large open source software such as Microsoft is still vulnerable. But, it has a much larger number of contributors. These contributors are adding new features and improving software at a rapid pace. As for smaller open source projects, they may not get the same attention as the larger project would. This could result in more downtime, making your information more accessible to hackers. Make sure your open source is reputable and has a robust community of contributors. 

How is open source software useful to small businesses?

Open source software allows small businesses to perform daily tasks at little to no cost. Businesses are able to gain unlimited access to full functioning software. Which helps optimize growth and efficiency throughout the company. But, as a business grows larger in scale, it may need more advanced tools to ensure the safety of the business.

Can I use free software for business?

Absolutely! Free software is beneficial for many aspects of a business. Some even prefer free software applications. 

Dependable IT Support

Free software for business has many benefits, but it is also important to understand the risks. Thinking about using free software as a software solution for your business? Stop, and ask yourself how your software optimizes your business activity. Elevated Technologies helps educate and advise businesses with these types of questions. Contact us today to ensure you’re using your open source software safely.

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